Landing in the urban jungle of inner Sydney is a far cry from dropping off SAS troops in the jungles of Vietnam – Ken Vote has done both in his career as a Navy and EMS helicopter pilot.
Ken started his helicopter career with the Australian Navy, spent time in Vietnam, instructed in the military and had a career in the EMS world. He was one of the senior pilots during a counter terrorism readiness operation to oil rigs in Bass Strait, survived a live fire SAS killhouse training run where he played the role of a hostage and has also flown off Australia’s last aircraft carrier.
I was put in touch with Ken by Craig Bowman – Bowie is flying an EMS bird in Western Australia – which is possibly the largest EMS area of coverage in the world in terms of square kilometers – that might be a story for another time. In researching this interview I also got in touch with one of the volunteers at the Fleet Air Arm Association of Australia who knew Ken – he indicated that Ken is not known for being reticent in sharing memories!!
So I hope you enjoy this interview. I have cut it into 2 episodes for length so this is Part 1 that you are about to hear.
I started off by asking Ken about a routine at an airshow in 1973 that he used to perform and the occasion that things didn’t go to plan.
Video – Wessex Helicopters Blade Unfolding on HMAS Melbourne
Do you have a question about Ken’s career or EMS flying that you want to ask? Be part of the conversation by leaving a comment below.