Airline director thanked for Spitfire flyovers
If, on occasion, you spot a grey nurse shark soaring over Hedland skies, fear not.
It’s probably Golden Eagle Airlines Director Keith Russell out in his iconically painted Spitfire.
Last week, Town of Port Hedland Youth Services Coordinator Tony Mosley had the privilege of presenting Golden Eagle Airlines a thank you gift for Mr Russell’s Spitfire flyovers during the recent Vibe 3on3 event held at the JD Hardie Centre.
Mr Russell donated his time, flying talents and plane to complete three level flyovers of the centre as kids and adults watched from a mere 1000 feet or just over 300 metres below.
The plane is a kit built reproduction of an original World War II Spitfire fighter plane which averages out at 80 percent of the original sized craft and has the bonus of a back seat.
It’s a small backseat, but a backseat no less!
The plane features the menacing teeth and beady eyes of a grey nurse shark.
Mr Russell said this pays homage to an RAAF World War II squadron – No. 457 – who became known as the “Grey nurse squadron” for painting all their Spitfires with the same distinctive shark features.
He was humble about his involvement in the day.
“It’s good to be community minded and I like to try to do something,” he said.
Mr Russell has done flights for other fundraising events and tries to get out about once a week himself.
Mr Mosley was very appreciative of the support Mr Russell could provide for the youth day and presented Keith and Mary Russell a bronze plaque model of an original Spitfire.
In addition, as a thank you to the Vibe team that weekend, Mr Russell took visiting Vibe 3on3 Program Manager Anneke Barnes to take a ride with Mr Russell in the aircraft.
Ms Barnes said it was the first time I have ever rolled in a plane and experienced 3 g force which was an odd sensation.
“Thanks to Keith for taking me up and giving me the aerial view tour of Port Hedland and a big thank you to Tony for arranging it,” she said.
“I did feel like a bit of superstar.”