Legendary chopper pilot Monster Wilkins has passed on.
Monster, a legend in rescue circles, cut his teeth as a chopper pilot while flying for the SAAF, where in 1966 he was one of the 22 Squadron pilots who pulled off the first air sea rescue carried out in South Africa.
Monster, with Lt Brian Palin in Alouette 53, and the other two Alouette III helicopters, managed to rescue 76 people, including a baby, in a remarkable 75 hoists, off the SA Seafarer on 1 July 1966.
Many years later the same airframe, Allouette 53, was used as the first AMS rescue helicopter – Skymed 1.
Monster, the epitome of an Air Force Helicopter pilot, later became search master and Director Operations for the SA Air Force, Base Manager for CHC Helicopters and most recently was working as Chief Pilot and head of Flight Operations for Starlight Aviation.
We will miss him.