Westpac Rescue Helicopter bids farewell to Pilot Kevin Ratcliffe
Today the Westpac Rescue Helicopter said farewell to long serving Pilot Kevin Ratcliffe after more than 15 years of service.
Kevin joined the Service in 2002 as a casual pilot after a career in the Royal Navy as an air engineer and pilot.
"It has been over 15 years since my first flight with the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service as a casual back in 2002 and the time has literally flown by," Mr Ratcliffe said.
Kevin’s naval career spanned for more than 25 years and saw him fly the Sea King and Lynx helicopters. His engineering career gave him experience in multiple types of aircraft including the Sea Harrier. Kevin’s attraction to Australia began after he visited during a Naval deployment in the 1980’s, where he met his now wife Sue, who he has two boys to.
After immigrating to Australia in the early 2000s, Kevin set up home with his family in the Tenambit area, before starting his Australian aviation career with the Marine helicopters based in the Newcastle harbour. It was during this time that Kevin joined the Service as a casual pilot, flying the Bell 407 and then the BK 117. Kevin eventually went fulltime in 2007, when he converted to the Bell 412 and more recently to the AW139. He also spent a number of years on the Board as a staff representative.
Kevin leaves the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service after dedicating more than 15 years of flying as a highly skilled and respected Line Pilot. He is looking forward to spending time enjoying a more relaxed lifestyle, helping look after his grandchildren and continuing to develop his other interests.
"It has been good to be part of an exciting transition in recent times but also to have a long list of interesting, memorable and challenging experiences to show for my whole time with the Service. Thank you to all those folks whose paths have crossed with mine - you have all contributed to the rich stories that can be told later (perhaps even to the grandkids as well!)," Kevin said.
CEO Richard Jones said that Kevin will be greatly missed and thanked him for the 15 years he has spent helping the community.
"We have been extremely fortunate to have had a pilot such a Kevin as part of our helicopter family. He honestly is one of the friendliest guys you will ever meet and he has a massive heart. Kevin has always been so passionate about being there for our community and I cannot thank him enough for the years he has spent saving lives," Mr Jones said.
"On behalf of our staff, the board, volunteers, those he has assisted and the community, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you," he said.