A life in the clouds

He finds it difficult to put into words, exactly why he loves flying, but Ted McIntosh’ wife Ann gets it.

“He’s happiest when he’s flying,” she told the Tribune recently.

“I suppose it’s a lot better than dealing with sheep,” Ted jokingly agreed.

Ted has worked with planes almost all his adult life. He has been mainly in the field of fertilizing and the spraying of rural properties. Working for a couple of different companies over his time, he has also done some charter work.

Ted was born in Darlinghurst and moved to Wellington when he was seven. His father bought a butcher’s shop and once he graduated from Wellington High, all he wanted to do was get into a plane.

“I just had a yen to do it.

“Quite a few locals were learning to fly at that point and Wellington was lucky enough to have the one of the best instructors in Australia, George Campbell.”

Ted acquired his private license in 1958 and got his commercial two years later.

Living in a country town Ted automatically transitioned into a career in Aerial Agriculture. His first professional job was in Cudal with a company called Hazleton Air Services.

Since, Ted has been predominantly in the field of aerial spraying and aerial fertilizer spreading.

“I still work,” he told the Tribune.

“I have a few farmers that need fertilizer spreading annually so I still do a bit of that.

“I don’t do spraying anymore. Yass is not a cropping region although some pastures are sprayed.

Ted and Ann were married in 1964 and moved to Yass. With all the money they owned they bought some sheep and some land on Black Range Road in 1975

“We didn’t have much, but we had a small parcel of land, and owed nothing on it,” Ted explained.

For four tough weeks the couple had no power and for six years they lived in a tiny cottage on their property.

Then in 1977 Ted was retrenched. It proved a blessing in disguise however, as Ted was able to get a loan and buy his own plane and begin private work.

The company who let Ted go tried to remain in the area and continue to operate, but local farmers stood by Ted and the opposition soon left.

“It was a big risk at the time, going against the company, but thanks to the farmers who stuck by me, it worked well and we were very grateful to our loyal customers.

Farmers use aerial fertilizing to improve the land that is inaccessible to tractors. Farmers order fertilizer through their stock and station agents, and those agents contact Ted so that he and his Fletcher 954 can get to work.

In other attempts to avoid working on sheep Ted enjoys the occasional round of golf, playing Bridge with friends and also a cheeky punt on the horses.

“Ann has a share in a 2-year-old race horse so we have an interest there,” Ted said.

With the help of their property manager Craig Polsen, Ted and Ann plan to stay at Black Range Road for many years.

They have plans to build a kit aeroplane in their back shed.

“We think it will be a fun thing to do together.”

Once they’ve finished the couple plan on travelling around Australia.

“We have never used a plane for leisure really. So it will be nice to be able to do that.”

Ted McIntosh with his beloved Fletcher 964. Photo: Oliver Watson.

Ted McIntosh with his beloved Fletcher 964. Photo: Oliver Watson.


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