Ray's excellent Rainbow Beach helicopter aviation adventure
YOU might think there was not much to do with aircraft that Ray Parker had not done.
The man who practically invented Cooloola Coast aviation, a retired commercial pilot and owner of his own air transport business, Mr Parker relocated the business, Parker's Air Taxis, from Colstream in Victoria to Rainbow Beach and took up the tenure on the Rainbow Beach airfield in 1982.
Mr Parker, now 92, gave up flying at 70 but has continued to maintain the airfield, on leased state government land along the Inskip Peninsula.
He took tourists on scenic flights over Fraser Island and the Cooloola Coast and did charter work around southeast Queensland, his friends, Diana and Glen Cruickshank, recalled last week.
They got to know Ron when they became his fellow airport clients, operating their business, Rainbow Beach Helicopters.
They and other locals operating the Skydive Australia business from there are still giving visitors air access to one of the most beautiful places on earth, Diana and Glen said yesterday.
But even with all that experience, Ron, who was also one of the first tour operators at Rainbow Beach, had just about done it all - just about, but not quite.
He had never flown in a helicopter. His Victorian family changed all that with a special 92nd birthday gift.
"It gave him the chance to see his town and its beautiful surrounds from the air once again,” Mr Cruickshank said.