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Friday, January 21, 2022

80-year-old former pilot returns to skies

Eighty-year-old Arcare Peregian Springs resident and former pilot, Keith Clarke, has returned to the skies, 30 years after hanging up his wings.

Keith was an officer and pilot in the Rhodesia air-force who then became a pilot and second officer for Qantas for 30 years. He retired at the age of 55 and bought a replica of the airplane that he had trained on in the Rhodesian air force. In 1990, Keith flew in the London to Sydney Air Rally.

When asked about how he felt given the opportunity to be back in a plane again, Keith said: “To have a chance of going up in the air again, it will be fantastic. I absolutely miss flying!”

After hanging up his wings nearly 30 years ago, he was given the opportunity to fly again thanks to the team at Arcare Peregian Springs.

He stated just before that flight: “this is fantastic, I’m being given the opportunity to experience something that was a massive part of my life over again! … It was life, life to me.”

Joining Keith in the amazing experience was his wife and his children Cameron, Alice and Peter – who is also a trained pilot – and his grandchildren.

“It is very inspiring for Keith to have had the opportunity from Arcare to be in the air again and to also have his family present. It was a very special experience sharing this with Dad,” son, Peter said. 

The pilot leading the experience with Keith was Sunshine Coast local, George Palmer, a semi-retired Airline pilot currently working as a Simulator instructor doing 737 type ratings.

He has completed aircraft instructing and has flown since the age of 16 with a career with Ansett and Singapore Airlines where he retired as a 747 captain.

“Keith loved every minute of it, he had a grin from ear to ear,” said George.

“I am honoured to be doing this for Keith as a fellow aviator.”

Arcare Peregian Springs’ Lifestyle Coordinator, Diane Tyler, was a big part in making this dream for Keith become a reality again.

“Reliving his flying days has always been his dream and it is such an exciting opportunity for him to have another chance to get into the air!” Diane said.

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