The 2015 Steadfast Foundation Outback Air Race (SOAR) took off on 23rd August and is running until 4th September this year. It is one of Australia’s greatest charity events: over the course of two weeks, SOAR plans to raise a whopping $300,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).
Though it resembles a car rally through the outback of Australia, many of the planes in this air race will cover almost 8,000km and churn through 27,000 litres of fuel!
Amazingly, however, the total distance covered by all 26 planes in the 2015 SOAR, from start to finish, will amount to less than three average days of flying for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. That’s because workers of the RFDS work tirelessly to help remote communities.
In fact, last year the RFDS made a daily average of 773 patient contacts, 148 patient transports and flew 72,358 kilometres.
2015 Steadfast Foundation Outback Air Race Manager, Rowan Hill, said: ‘This will be the ninth triennial Outback Air Race, since its inception in 1996 and we aim to raise over $300,000 for the RFDS to add to the event total of $1.5 million raised over the last 20 years.
‘It has taken our volunteer committee, spread all over the country, over 18 months to pull together the complex logistics of our fantastic itinerary flying from Esperance to Forrest, Yulara, Alice Springs, Birdsville, Winton, Karumba, Cooktown and wrapping it all up with a grand finale on Hamilton Island’.
Around 70 people from all over Australia are racing in teams during this fundraiser, though this will be more of a time trial and navigation exercise than who can fly the fastest. Throughout the race, participants will accrue points by correctly estimating the time it will take them to fly from a designated start point to a designated end point during each day’s race leg, and will lose points for failure to exactly find and overfly the start and finish points. This ensures that crews of slower aircraft are not disadvantaged.
How can you help? Donate to a team to help them fundraise the most money towards the RFDS!
And don’t forget to watch the Steadfast Outback Air Race live right here.
Photography of the Outback Air Race 2012 by Malcolm MacDonald.