Giddy heights for New Acland miner
21 August 2017
Whether it’s maintaining big rigs at New Acland Mine or flying high above the Range – Mark Guth gets a perspective of the Darling Downs from several levels.
Life as a diesel mechanic and pilot means Mark has access to some pretty impressive equipment whether it’s a 380 tonne mining truck or a Cessna aircraft.
Now in his seventh year at the mine, Mark is also a proud member of the Darling Downs Aero Club where he first learned to fly about 15 years ago.
Then a remote servicing mechanic for Toowoomba Vanderfield, Mark spent the first half of his career flying around Australia servicing agricultural equipment and delivering parts to some of the country’s most remote farms and stations.
"We flew all around Queensland and New South Wales and sometimes even right down to Victoria," Mark said.
"It was the best of both worlds working as a mechanic while getting to fly and I feel really lucky to have seen so much of this beautiful country."
Servicing agricultural equipment was a natural fit for Mark who spent 10 years after high school as a station hand in Central Queensland before returning to the Downs to complete his apprenticeship.
"Working on cattle stations all those years gave me a real appreciation for the ag industry and that’s why I have so much respect for what the mine’s doing with Acland Pastoral Company," Mark said.
"Acland Pastoral is cropping and running cattle on about 10,000ha around the mine site, but they’re also trialling a herd on 480ha of rehabilitated mined land.
"I’ve seen mining trucks digging in pits where there are now fat, happy cows grazing on pasture."
"It’s pretty impressive stuff and I definitely encourage people to come down and see it for themselves."
Currently studying for an instrument rating exam with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Mark said his love affair with flying is based on its challenge.
"With flying you’re always learning," Mark said.
"Every flight is different whether it’s the weather or the navigation, you’re always developing your skill set and I really love the way it pushes you to learn more."
About to fly his wife and daughter on a trip away to Hervey Bay, Mark said the Darling Downs Aero Club had encouraged him to get out and explore south-east Queensland.
"The Aero Club hosts a whole heap of events that get us up in the air quite a few times every month," Mark said.
"We do things like fun flies for kids and the local community and fly-ins to other towns for breakfasts at places like Goondiwindi and Gympie.
"One of my favourite events is flying in for the Birdsville Races, it’s always a great weekend."