Guest: Steve Death
Hosts: Dave Homewood and James Kightly
Recorded: 19th of November 2015
Duration: 59 minutes 14 seconds
Dave Homewood and James Kightly continue the Wings Over Australia tour in this episode by dropping in on one of Australia’s most well known pilots, Steve Death, at his Hazair headquarters at Albury Airport in New South Wales.
Steve is well known for his work in agricultural flying, such as spraying of crops and aerial topdressing of superphosphate. His family company Hazair flies a pair of the extremely recognisable PL-12 Airtruks, as well as other types in the fleet, and they service the farming and agricultural community around the Albury and Wagga areas.
Another type of flying that keeps Steve busy is that of a ferry pilot, flying mostly new aircraft from the factories in places like the USA and New Zealand to customers around the world.
And he’s also now fulfilling an all important role as an AT-802A “Fire Boss” pilot in an Air Tractor floatplane during the Australian bush fire season, working with the heavy tankers (such as Hercules ‘Thor’ from Episode 107) as their forward air controller.
But perhaps Steve is best known to the public as one of Australia’s top warbirds display pilots. He has his own AT-6 Texan which forms part of the famous “Southern Knights” display team, and also a T-28 Trojan. And he is in constant demand to fly and display warbirds at airshows such as the Supermarine Spitfires, Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawks, and the Temora Lockheed Hudson. And during our visit the new warbird on the scene that Steve was then preparing to fly was the Fw190 replica German fighter.
As well as all the flying Steve is an engineer and his Hazair company also carries out maintenance on aircraft. The company was started in 1949 by Steve’s father Keith Death, and today Steve’s son Hayden is also working at Hazair as a LAME.
Our thanks to Steve for taking the time to host the Wings Over New Zealand Show at Hazair on an otherwise busy day, it was an absolutely fascinating visit.
All photos below copyright Dave Homewood except where otherwise credited
The “Fire Boss” Air Tractor that Steve flies in fire season