EXPLORING THE OUTBACK: Checking out Alice Springs are (from left) Mark Westcott, raffle organiser Herbie Rosenberg, passenger Sarah Cox and Toowoomba man Tom McVeigh.
EXPLORING THE OUTBACK: Checking out Alice Springs are (from left) Mark Westcott, raffle organiser Herbie Rosenberg, passenger Sarah Cox and Toowoomba man Tom McVeigh. Contributed

Tom's soaring donation for the Royal Flying Doctor Service

THE Toowoomba man who took to the sky for The Steadfast Outback Air Race was honoured to do his part for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).

Tom McVeigh recently found out that his efforts helped the RFDS's largest community fundraising event set a new record of $585,000.

Earlier this year Mr McVeigh and friend Mark Westcott boarded one of 25 small planes on a 5000km fundraising adventure through outback Australia.

The event surpassed its original goal of donating $300,000 to the aero medical service.

"It was my first time doing it; I was invited by a friend who owns a plane," Mr McVeigh said.

"I haven't done a lot of light aircraft flying before but it was a worthwhile cause and enjoyable experience."

The Steadfast Outback Air Race is a GPS-based navigation time trial throughout the Australian outback.

Since 1996 competitors and spectators have raised more than $2.1 million, with funds from each race going towards outfitting RFDS aircrafts with essential medical equipment.

Mr Westcott and Mr McVeigh saw some of Australia's landmarks like Uluru, Alice Springs, the Simpson Desert, Birdsville and Winton.

They flew over the Gulf Country to Karumba, across to Cooktown for the race finale and then travelled down the east coast to Hamilton Island.

Mr McVeigh said flying across the Gulf of Carpentaria was a highlight.

"It's completely different seeing Australia in a light aircraft; you're closer to the ground and get 360 degree views," he said.

"I personally found it very rewarding and the (RFDS) service in particular saves lives so it's a no-brainer to want to give back."

The distance flown by the teams totalled almost 225,000km, which is what the RFDS averages throughout Australia over three days.



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