Our Crew

Dave Paterson

Air Crewman

Prior to working with the RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service I spent 17 years in the Australian Army, where I gained experience as a Helicopter Crewman.

My most memorable mission was conducted in Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake, where we transported a family, including an infant who was born during the earthquake to a Military Field Hospital, where they were treated for an array of injuries and illnesses.

I love playing golf and more recently have taken up the challenge of building and flying radio controlled model helicopters.

Above everything, I love spending time with my wife.

I feel blessed to have a job where I wake up wanting to go to work. The reward of helping to save lives is indescribeable.

Garth Snaidero

Rescue Crewman

Born in Griffith NSW and raised on the family property in the Leeton NSW, Garth joined the Australian Army after completing high school. After 11 years with the Australian Defence Force, Garth spent 8 years as a Rescue Crew Officer on the EMQ Rescue Helicopter in Townsville.

Garth enjoys the sense of purpose his role gives him and having an opportunity to help people whilst working within a highly trained, professional and motivated small team.

Some of his more memorable missions include rescuing the last 5 crew members of a sinking ship in the Gulf after it was hit by a Cyclone in May 2007, attending the Lockhart River plane crash (the largest loss of life in a single civil plane crash in Australian history to date) in May 2005, undertaking post –cyclone relief at Innisfail and Tully after cyclones Larry and Yasi respectively and flood relief at Ingham in 2008 and more recently in SE Queensland in 2011.

When not working on the RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service Garth enjoys Running, Swimming, Cycling, Sailing and spending time with his family and friends.

Patrick Norton

Air Crewman

A born and bred Rocky boy Patrick has come home after 10years in the Australian Army and two years working on the Victorian Ambulance Helicopter to work in and help his local community. The majority of Patrick’s family lives here so he is enjoying both being around family and the spectacular Queensland weather.

Patrick joined the Australian Army at 18 years old and worked in aviation for 10 years where he flew in Blackhawks and Chinook helicopters as an Air Crewman. Patrick says – “Being part of rescue helicopter operations is a very rewarding career”.

Nathan Triffett

Senior Air Crewman (Check and Training Air Crewman)

With 13 years’ experience under his belt as a Helicopter Air Crewman it is hard to imagine that Nathan has any spare time.  But when he does his time off is just as action packed as his day job, enjoying fishing, golf, motorcycling, cricket, swimming and running his dog on the beach.

Whilst in the Australian Army Nathan was deployed to the Solomon Islands, Banda Aceh, Bougainville and East Timor as a military Air Crewman Loadmaster working on Iroquois Helicopters.

Nathan has been working on Rescue Helicopters in Queensland and Victoria since 2006 and finds utilising the capabilities of our aircraft to help people in need the most memorable part of his job.

Chris Manns

Senior Pilot

Whether it be fishing, boating, going to the beach or rugby Senior Base Pilot Chris Manns loves to spend his time outdoors or with his family. So it seems only natural that Chris would chose to take to the skies rather than sit behind a desk.

A very familiar face in our crew, Chris joined us with a vast amount of experience in many roles – too numerous to mention in fact!

While there is an air of anxiousness with you as you arrive at the scene of an accident or rescue, working with a professional and focused crew to help someone in need is what it’s all about for Chris. “A positive result at the end of a mission is really the greatest reward you could receive” Chris says.

Nick Kelly


Following his childhood dream of becoming a pilot Nick completed university and joined the Australian Army to fly Blackhawk Helicopters.

The army, for 11 years gave Nick the opportunity to see most of our big country and a few others along the way. But tired of being travelling army gypsies Nick and his family recently moved to Yeppoon to take up the role of pilot with our service.

Nick recognises that whilst being a rescue pilot is one of the more challenging areas that a pilot can work in it is also one of the most rewarding. Nick says “Making someone’s day a bit brighter than it was before and flying a great aircraft makes it all worth it.”

Mitch Vernon

Base Manager / Pilot

Mitch has been flying for over 25 years and has been lucky enough to fly in many diverse regions including Antarctica and the Middle East, performing a variety of  different tasks such as movie filming, aerial crane, fire fighting, offshore, VIP & emergency medical services. 

If you asked Mitch today what his greatest post has been during his career so far he would say his position as Pilot and Base Manager with RACQ CHRS. His rescue of 5 people off Keppel Island on Australia Day features as his most rewarding task while flying the Dalai Lama during his official visit to Victoria his most memorable.

Mitch’s motivation is – “Knowing that I have helped someone get over their bad day”.

Matt Holdsworth

Rescue Crewman

Snows’ (Matt) role of Rescue Crewman is very demanding and relies heavily on his health and fitness being in peak condition. To stay fit Snow plays golf, swims, rides, runs, bush walks & competes in triathlons.

In previous roles Snow worked on search & rescue aircrafts for seven years and spent 14 ½ years in the Aviation Squadrons of the Australian Defence Force. Serving in East Timor, Banda Aceh and Afghanistan exposed Snow to the many and varied capabilities and configurations of rotary winged aircrafts. During this time his interest in Search and Rescue and Aero Medical Emergencies was heightened.

Snow comments “This will always be an amazing and positive work environment.”

Daniel Bagshaw


Dan joins CHRS with 15 years of aviation experience in cattle mustering, flying for the gas sector and mining companies, search and rescue, fire-fighting, long line and sling work, film and photo work and general charter and tourism. With this vast range of experience under his belt Dan comments that rescue work is by far the most challenging and rewarding flying that he has experienced to date. And his most rewarding moment so far – “All the missions we carry out are rewarding but the most rewarding are the jobs that involve helping out new born children and kids.”

When not in the air Dan spends his day carrying out pre-flight inspections of our aircraft, checking on up and coming maintenance, staying current with weather forecasts and ensuring the overall safety of the aircrew and aircraft are achieved.

Wayne Clifford

Air Crewman

After completing nine years in Infantry with the Australian Defence Force Wayne (Wal) decided that it would be much easier to fly everywhere instead of walking. It was during this moment that he realised his aviation ambition and went on to spend 12 years serving as an Army Air Crewman.

Today, working for an aeromedical community helicopter provider, Wal’s day-to-day responsibilities include – ensuring that our aircraft is configured for any tasking, reviewing flight documentation and testing electronic devices.

Working around the clock 24 hours a day and seven days a week you might ask Wal – what makes is all worth it? Wal says “Making a difference to someone’s life by providing ‘a lift’ after an illness or injury is the most rewarding.”