54 of 74 years in the saddle

Brisbane Airport firefighters staged a traditional special-occasion water salute for popular 74-year-old Captain Doug Whitbourn when he taxied in at the end of his final JETGO flight JG6 from Osborne Mine to Brisbane on last Friday (Feb 14).

That was the tail end of 54 years, 23,045 hours, 11 log books and a career that started in 1960 at the Royal Victorian Aero Club in Tiger Moths, where he met and married Kate, an airline flight attendant who was also learning to fly (and they’re still together.) Doug’s airline career began in Ansett. In 1989 he switched to Emirates flying A300s, later flying globally with the Saudi Royal Family; then back to Australia flying corporate jets. For the past two years he’s been involved in the line training and checking of pilots on JETGO’s resource industry support operations.

At 74 Doug finally hung up his headset. JETGO’s Airline Managing Director Paul Bredereck said management and Airservices’ ARFF staff organised the water salute “as a fitting tribute to one of the industries last true gentlemen.” Doug says the highlight of his career was his last two years flying the Embraer Regional Jets with JETGO.


Photo credit: Joe Stenning

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