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Known around the area for his quiet, simple and stoic disposition, Micheal Rex made a classic mistake many first-year station hands make this afternoon – he got a lift back to the homestead with the chopper pilot moments after telling him it was his first time up in one.

The 19-year-old said he’d never been so scared in his whole life.

“He just went up and up and up like a rocket,” said Rex, staring a thousand yards off into the distance from the verandah wrapping around the quarters.

“We just kept going up and up, then we rolled down and really rolled completely over. It was just sky, ground, sky ground. I thought I was going to die and the whole time Ian was just laughing next to me. Thought he’d gone mad, I did,”

“Anyway, he cut the funny buggers out when he saw I was about to pass out from a mix of fear and g-forces so bloody Ian levelled out and we continued on home directly. Won’t see me up in one of those wookatook hoorang fucking things ever again, you won’t.”

Ian McDormant has been flying on Nappatunga Station, a short 320-minute drive northeast of The Advocate’s Daroo St offices, for close to two years know and he agrees with the notion that if a sprightly young ringer tells a pilot that they haven’t been up in a chopper before, they’re obligated to scare the shit out of them.

Taking long draws from his filterless Log Cabin, the 27-year-old skyboy said taking blokes like young Michael up for a spin is what keeps his love for aviation burning.

“You should’ve seen the look on his face,” said Ian.

“You can tell when a bloke is really, truly scared. They don’t scream or flail about like some lunatic, they freeze and hold onto their seatbelt like their life depends on it,”

“Can only go it when the boss is away, but. If you get caught flying like a fuckhead, the manager will drag you out of that chopper and jump on you quicker than you can say, ‘Sikorsky.'”

More to come.



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