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14 September was an unforgettable day for delighted Year 1 and 2 children from Parkes East Public School.













Dear Mr. Breust,

On Tuesday, 4th April Rex arranged a Special flight, ZL 866 from Sydney to Broken Hill to carry special guests and family members to the State Funeral of the City's best known Son, Pro Hart.

The aircraft departed at 8.30am and included among the passengers were State and Federal members of Parliament, representing the NSW Premier and Kim Beasley, together with other dignitaries and Family members. The scheduled flight time was 2 hours 5 minutes, putting us on the ground at 10.05am Central time. This allowed some 55 minutes to get from the airport to the Entertainment Centre, the only venue large enough to carry the estimated large crowd wishing to celebrate Pro's life.

As we climbed to cruising altitude the Captain came onto the PA with the disconcerting news that there were major headwinds of close to a hundred knots, and these would significantly affect our arrival time. Instead of the estimated landing time of 10.05am, the amended time would be 11.30am, half an hour after the commencement of the State Funeral at 11.00am central time. There were hurried discussions in the cabin as those who had a role in the Service considered options, and a request was made to the Captain to radio ahead to alert the Mayor's Office of the situation. Unfortunately the range to Broken Hill was too great but the Captain radioed a message to Rex in Sydney, who then contacted the Mayor's Secretary. Arrangements were made to ensure vehicles were waiting at the airport, but we settled down to the likely possibility that those on board would miss at least half the service, as radio and TV commitments meant it was virtually impossible to delay the service.

The Saab Crew, Captain Greg Yeates, First Officer Emily Walker and Flight Attendant Libbie Roy Williams realised the gravity of the situation and responded heroically. Unbeknown to those in the cabin they virtually pulled all stops out, or more probably pushed throttles forward to make up time and they succeeded in touching down at 10.50am, forty minutes before the 11.30am amended time.

Flight Attendant Libby had organised those passengers not attending the funeral to remain seated as we rapidly left the aircraft and literally sprinted for the taxis. We pulled up at the barriers outside the Entertainment Centre at two minutes to eleven am. and were asked by the Seating Officer from the Protocol Section of the Premier's Department to follow the Hart Family as they began moving into the auditorium. Quite literally we arrived and entered the service with no more than a minute to spare. Those on board the aircraft, the Hart Family, and those involved in the organisation of the Service are all deeply indebted to a wonderful crew, and a caring Airline that worked so efficiently and with unfailing good humour to turn a potentially disastrous situation into a triumph of problem management

For my own part, I am especially appreciative of what your Organisation did for me personally. As members of Broken Hill's Brushmen of the Bush, Pro and I had many years of friendship and collaboration,including taking exhibitions overseas. When the logistics of flying from my home in Mackay to attend the funeral appeared almost impossible, Mayor of Broken Hill Ron Page contacted Rex, explaining the situation that I was one of the two remaining Brushmen, out of the five original members. I was contacted soon after by a Rex Executive advising of the special flight and inviting me to join it as guest of the Company. I cannot begin to tell you how much that generous action affected me, as it now became possible to say farewell to my friend of forty four years as the City he loved so much prepared to send him off in great style. A State Funeral it may have been, but it also became a moving, joyous, and at times very humorous celebration of Pro's life.

Pro died of Motor Neurone Disease, and on the return flight that afternoon the thought occurred to me that his passing could be the catalyst for the establishment of the Pro Hart Foundation for research into Motor Neurone Disease. I have since discussed the possibility with Pro's eldest son John, who reacted very favourably and is to discuss it with other Family members and professional advisers to the Family. Who knows what may come from these quiet reflections on the return flight.

I know I speak for all on board flight ZL 866 when I say you have an outstanding and caring group of employees in the ever cheerful and efficient Captain Greg Yeates, lovely First Officer Emily Walker and ever helpful Flight Attendant Libby Roy- Williams for their very satisfactory resolution of o major problem.-Please consider appending this letter to their personal files so that their efforts may be remembered in the future. Heartfelt thanks also to those involved on the ground and to the staff members who made my own participation possible, whose names I unfortunately failed to record. Also feel free to use these comments in any way you consider appropriate, such as in "Out There", your inflight magazine. I personally thanked Rex Regional Express in several radio and newspaper interviews I did immediately after the Funeral.


Well Done All,

May you continue to have a caring, well run and prosperous Airline.


John W. Pickup
Brushmen of the Bush



Elliot & friends on another Rex flight!

Elliot talks about his first Rex flight!



A charming pelican named Rex captured the hearts of our Cabin Crew on a flight to the Northern Rivers recently when the two-week-old orphaned bird found itself in serious trouble and in need of a helping hand. Believed to have been rejected by its parents because of an infected leg, or possibly chased by dogs, Rex was found stranded and alone off the Central Coast by a woman kayaker and transferred to the Ballina branch of Sea Bird Rescue for special care. “This little guy is seriously cute” said Lance Ferris of Ballina Sea Bird Rescue when Rex was handed over by our crew. “It has a nine-centimetre beak now and they can get up to 50cm, and little stumps for wings so you can get some idea of how big it is”. As well as bestow Rex some tender love and care, Sea Bird Rescue will prescribe a treatment of antibiotics and determine Rex’s sex. “Who knows? We may need to change its name to Rexona” said Mr Ferris. Hopefully in 10 weeks Rex (or Rexona) will be fit and healthy ready to board another Rex flight home to the Central Coast to be released into its natural habitat. Our crew can hardly wait.




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