(Written by Mareeba Communications Officer Katherine Williams)
A mix of excitement and anticipation filled the air when I met with Bridget Ingham to discuss her imminent move to Timor-Leste. Bridget explains that “there are normally three pilots in programme in Timor, but at the moment due to Covid-19, there is only one pilot there.” So for the second half of 2020, Bridget will fill in as relief pilot in Timor-Leste.
Bridget joined MAF about 18months ago with the plan for her to be based in Mareeba for the first two years as a Flight Instructor.
This move came about really quickly as within a month, Bridget was asked how she felt about relieving in Timor, to packing up her house, finding somewhere to store her furniture & car, getting vaccinated and moving to another country for six months. She says “I’m pretty excited. It’s going to be an amazing opportunity and one that I really wasn’t expecting to come along within the first two years of working for MAF. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit nervous.” This will be the first time that she has lived in a country where English is not one of the official languages of the country.
MAF in Timor is contracted by the National Ambulance Service to provide medical air transport, so to pilot in Timor means many medivacs, which can be quite stressful, so Bridget will be faced with that challenge as well as lots of charter work for the government and NGO’s.
Bridget says “from talking to many MAF staff that have previously served in Timor, the overwhelming main piece of advice was to be careful when driving, as the traffic can be crazy.”
Once Bridget has filled in in Timor, the plan is to return to Mareeba and the Flight Training Centre. Normally, this would not have been something that Bridget would have done, but because the Flight Training Centre was quieter than usual due to Covid-19, she was presented with this opportunity.