The Flying Knights
Team Captain: Stuart McDonald
Other Members: James Harrison
Aircraft: Cessna C172RG VH-FCI
Team Captain Bio – Stuart McDonald(callsign Maverick)
Becoming pilot was a long-held childhood dream influenced by my father (RAAF & Private Pilot), a treasured uncle (Commercial pilot & CFI) and my late grandfather (RAAF).
My earliest aviation memories were as a very young child sitting in the right seat of an aircraft piloted by my father and later in life my proudest moment was, as pilot in command, taking my elderly father for a scenic flight around Perth.
My involvement in the aviation industry as a pilot started later in my life, however, throughout my working life I have worked closely with general, charter and military aviation.
Having lived and worked in remote areas, complex and difficult environments as a peacekeeper (such as the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste & Cyprus), aviation was a crucial part of resupply, medical evacuations and other mission critical tasks.
I have an immense amount of respect and appreciation for the professionalism and challenges often faced by the RFDS pilots, medical staff and support staff in their daily working life.
After 25 years of serving my community and my country I am looking forward to the opportunity to support the RFDS in their most important role in serving our community.
Team Members Bio – James Harrison (callsign Mutley)
Whilst Stuey has the call sign of Maverick, I personally think of him more as a conglomerate of characters from the old cartoon show Whacky Races. As a result of this, I therefore will anoint my call sign as “Mutley” as it didn’t end all that well for “Maverick’s” “Goose” as I recall it.
My aviation experience compared to Stuey, is microscopic, limited to cattle class on commercial aircraft and cargo nets in military aircraft with my only true “air time” came when hanging upside down, whilst trying to rappel from a helicopter on an army exercise.
Keeping my aviation experience in mind, my role in this race is purely for sidekick purposes and to provide ballast for the aircraft.
Whilst not having experienced the RFDS first hand, I have a deep admiration for the tireless work that they provide for outback Australia. It is uniquely Australian, that is known around the world and it is a privilege to be part of the Outback Air Race to support them.