A FREESTYLE flight over the Darling Downs in a plane famed for its aerobatic prowess is how career pilot Tony Alder likes to unwind.

His distinctive Pitts S2C can be seen rolling and turning above Toowoomba once every two to three weekends.

Inquiries from curious readers prompted The Chronicle to track Mr Alder down to find out more about his blue bi-plane.

Mr Alder, 59, has been based in Brisbane for the last four years working as the flight standards captain for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Before taking that role he was based in Hong Kong for 25 years as a commercial pilot for Cathay Pacific.

His connection to Toowoomba comes through his friendship with Lynette Zuccoli and the team at aircraft restoration specialists Aerotec.

"I've always been involved with doing acrobatics," Mr Alder said.

His Pitts is kept in an Aerotec hangar.

Taking his plane on solo weekend flights provides a completely different atmosphere to the well-rehearsed practices of commercial and medical flying.

"Virtually everything you say comes from a manual."

The appeal of Toowoomba also came in its relatively empty airspace.

"There's not a lot of traffic.

"When you get out of the training area and down to the south it is quite good."

He plans to keep flying until his health prevents him from taking to the skies.

"It gets me out of the house."



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