Angel Flight a vital service for Nate

  • Nate with Pilot Owen Crees in the cockpit on a flight
  • Nate on Angel Flight wearing a headset

Nate on Angel Flight & Nate with Pilot Owen Crees on a flight

Meet Nate, our three-year-old frequent flyer from Kyancutta in Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. Nate and his siblings, Cooper (7), Nala (5) and Jo (1) come from a long line of farmers and live on 12,000 acres of land, farming crops and livestock.

Nate was born with hearing loss and from six months of age began a long series of hearing tests to ascertain the level of audiological intervention he required. Living 7 hours drive from specialist medical care in Adelaide, Nate was a natural candidate for Angel Flight and was referred by his GP to use the free service. Nate and his Mum, Tessa, completed their first Angel Flight mission in 2021 with pilot Owen Crees and Earth Angel John Chambers. When Nate was a baby, he was fitted with a hearing aid which amplified his natural hearing to an acceptable level, however in 2023, he showed delays in his speech development and further investigation was required.

Earlier this year, Nate underwent bi-lateral cochlear implant surgery at Adelaide Hospital and will require regular appointments with a team of specialists to begin his rehabilitation program to develop his ability to detect sound and progress speech. After cochlear implant surgery, audiologists gradually increase the threshold of hearing. This heart melting Tik Tok video of Nate (here) shows him hearing his Mum’s voice as they switch his cochlear on for the first time.

Tessa is so grateful for the Angel Flight service which flies her and Nate from Wudinna Airfield to Adelaide Airport in 90 minutes and returns them home that afternoon.

“Angel Flight is a Godsend,” Tessa said. 

“The alternate trip by road is a several day mission with my four kids in tow, including my baby.”

“Being able to travel with Nate to the hospital in the morning and then return to work on the farm and family life that afternoon makes the world of difference to us.”

Nate, who loves planes, looks forward to his Angel Flight trips, and Tessa says the happy experience encourages him when he is going through such intense medical intervention.

Long standing Angel Flight pilot Owen Crees, flew Nate on his first Angel Flight in 2021 when he was only eight months old and more recently for Nate’s post-surgery review appointment in Adelaide in April 2024.

“It was great to see much of Nate’s extended family at Wudinna airport when I arrived for the first leg”, Owen said.

“It reminded me, once again, how Angel Flight’s assistance extends well past the actual passengers to whole families and even entire communities.”

Owen says Wudinna’s remoteness exemplifies the need for Angel Flight’s vital service with all three regional airports (Port Lincoln, Whyalla and Ceduna) a 2.5-hour drive and Adelaide 7 hours by road (usually longer with children).

“Angel Flight turns what would otherwise be a three-day road trip into a day trip which is a great benefit to farming families, especially at busy times of the year.”

“Any day I can go flying is a good day but there’s nothing quite as special as a day with passengers like Nate and Tessa.  It’s a privilege to be able to help them.”

Comment Count

Add new comment