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Orange in the Air

By November 15, 2010August 7th, 2013No Comments

Pioneer district aviator Max Hazelton has a remarkable lifetime of adventures to relate at Orange and District Historical Society's next 'Made in Orange' meeting at the Gladstone Hotel on Wednesday, November 17. In what will be a lively and informative gathering, Max will talk about his early love of aeroplanes, gaining his pilot's licence, buying his first aeroplane (an Auster Aglet trainer), starting his air taxi and charter service, the subsequent venture into a State-wide agricultural aviation venture, and finally the growth of a regular passenger service  a fully-blown regional airline.

In between, there were many highs and lows but, driven by his absolute love of aviation, Max and his associates overcame any obstacles. He was tested to the limit in 1954 when his beloved Auster crashed in the Blue Mountains and everyone feared the worst. He escaped the wreckage unscathed but it took a six-day trek in freezing conditions through mist and rain before he reached help at the Cox's River Post Office and relayed news of his survival to his family.

Highlights of his career included trips to the United States to buy new aeroplanes and flying them back to Australia (a remarkable feat in itself in a small plane) and participating in a record-breaking flight around Australia in a Cessna 310 in the mid-1960s.

Max also pioneered medical retrieval flights in the Central West, proving to authorities time and again that a locally based plane was usually able to retrieve injured or serious ill patients and fly them to hospital before the official Sydney-based air ambulances got off the ground. Max will also talk about other members of his family who made their careers in aviation.

Another special guest will be the chief flying instructor for Orange Flight Training and secretary of Orange Flying Club, Ken Pidcock, who will no doubt have plenty of stories to tell.

Aviation in the Central West has involved many hundreds of talented and innovative people over the years and a warm invitation is extended to them and anyone else interested in aviation to attend the meeting and add their stories.

The meeting will take place at the Gladstone Hotel function room at 7 for 7.30pm. There is a small charge of $3 for members of Orange and District Historical Society and $5 for non-members, to cover costs. Light refreshments will be served.
If you have any inquiries or would like to attend the meeting, please RSVP to Phil Stevenson on 6362-3257, mobile 0402 412 188 or email