Aid pilot Andrew Shipton – our helicopter pilot! Posted February 10, 2013 by Adrian Nance


Aid pilot Andrew Shipton is a fantastic part of our team.  He was our pilot for our 2013 flood response.

Andrew Shipton is a current air transport pilot (the highest grade of commercial helicopter pilot) with over 2000 hrs of flying experience.  Andrew flew alongside our pilot Bob Gillan and Matthias Reutter from Mercy Air in the 2007 floods.

Andrew Shipton’s background as an aid pilot

  • Andrew has experience as a mining survey pilot across Africa. We need survey experience in disaster response.
  • Andrew has experience as a pilot of fire fighting helicopters. Under-slung load work is a key part of delivering aid.
  • Andrew has experience of cargo work. Much of the aid is cargo – either food or ‘non-food items’.  ‘Non food items’ are things like cooking equipment, shelter, and sanitation items.
  • Andrew flew the Minister of the Interior of Mozambique. He is experienced in helping VIP passengers.
  • Andrew has a lot of experience of African  weather.  Aid pilots need to read the local weather and make tough decisions.

The non-flying skills of an aid pilot

There are all sorts of varied flying skills needed to be an effective aid pilot.  And aid pilots need to change safely between one role and another.  But there is more!

  • Aid pilots need to be trustworthy.  There are many vulnerable people in disaster affected areas.
  • They also need to be emotionally resilient.  There are many things in disaster zones that are not for the faint-hearted.
  • Aid pilots need to be flexible.  Things are often not predictable in disasters.

These are highly practical management skills. They help all involved get the right aid to the right people.  They also save lives.  Good aid pilots are very valuable.

Andrew Shipton is a great part of our team.