This is an interview with Ricardo Zanello (Ric) at the end of 2015 when he was based at El Questro. Prior to El Questro Ric was flying from our base at Warmun, over the Osmand Range and the Bungle Bungle. We asked Ric:
WHERE DO YOU WORK?
I am currently operating from a station called El Questro (aka ELQ). ELQ is predominately a tourist based station located on the Gibb River road in the East Kimberley approximately 1 hours drive from Kununurra. I am the only pilot based here over the season, with another pilot filling in from time to time. The weather is very typical of the Kimberley region, ranging sunny and mild throughout the winter months (dry season), to hot and humid with isolated thunderstorms around the summer months (waterfall season). When I am not flying I enjoy getting out and about, exploring different parts of the ELQ property or having a cheeky swim.
IS IT CHALLENGING LIVING IN A REMOTE PLACE LIKE THIS?
Yes and No. I enjoy living in a naturally beautiful area like the Kimberley and appreciate the relaxed pace of life up here. However, after growing up in a larger city, Perth, I find there are certain aspects/luxuries that I miss which most people would take for granted.
DO YOU HAVE AN INTERESTING INCIDENT TO RECOUNT?
On a heli fish @ ELQ, we had a fairly large fresh water crocodile trying to steal a barramundi off the line of one of my passengers (see attached photo). A five minute tug of war ensued with us eventually getting the fish up and the lure out of its mouth. After removing the fishing lure, we tossed the unwell fish back to the crocodile.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
Earning an income based around something I love to do and getting to show people incredible areas everyday is probably the best part of my job. To be technical, I also love the continual mental/physical challenge every flight will offer as well as continually learning new things.
DESCRIBE YOUR FAVOURITE EXPERIENCE
It’s hard to have a favourite experience as each different flight will provide its own unique memories. Heli fishing would be one of my most recent memorable experiences, with the ability to land anywhere along the length of a remote river system which is only accessible by helicopter or on foot.
We took a 90 min helicopter flight from Warmun road house and it was an awesome experience. Our pilot was Ricardo and he was very knowledgable and very professional. We would highly recommend Helispirit and our pilot to anyone. Thank you Ricardo for the awesome ride yr a legend mate. Steve and Alison