USQ Professor takes to the skies for the RFDS

04 September 2012
Adjunct Professor Geoff Nicholson competed in the Outback Air Race.

An aeroplane race around outback Australia is anything but hair-raising for University of Southern Queensland Adjunct Professor Geoff Nicholson.

Professor Nicholson and his flying partner and brother Peter don’t call themselves the “Bald Eagles” for nothing— both inherited a lack of hair and a passion for flying from their father Keith, a former World War II combat pilot.

Geoff and Peter competed in this year’s Outback Air Race, a time-trial based competition that tests flying precision and airmanship.

Competitors flew to checkpoints around Australia, starting at Ceduna in South Australia and passing through Charleville, Longreach, Cloncurry and Adels Grove before finishing at Darwin.

All funds raised by the race go towards the Royal Flying Doctor Service and outfitting their aircraft with essential medical equipment.

‘This will be the fifth or sixth year I’ve taken part in the race,’ Professor Nicholson said.

‘I initially entered with my father who had been flying for over 60 years before he took his final flight in his mid-80s.

‘Every male in my family has caught the flying bug, with one brother an ex-Royal Australian Air Force pilot and the other a Boeing engineer.

‘It’s always great fun.’

Professor Nicholson said team Bald Eagles had raised nearly $12,000 from friends and sponsors.

‘Over $300 000 will be raised by the race this year,’ he said.

‘The race has been going since the mid-90s and has raised about $1.5 million for the Royal Flying Doctor Service so far.

‘Even though there is some stiff competition, we don’t take it too seriously and always have a wonderful time.

‘I’ve won a few races in my time too.’

Professor Nicholson is the Deputy Director of USQ’s Centre for Rural and Remote Area Health and head of the University of Queensland’s Rural Clinical School

For more information about the Outback Air Race, visit

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