Local pilot nails tricky landing as new Boeing 737 flies in
FLYING over Mount Larcom and descending to Gladstone Airport, Captain Brett Jensen was proud to land QantasLink's first 737 on home soil.
In a bid to fly thousands of Bechtel workers home in time for Christmas, the corporation has chartered several flights to Brisbane in the newest Boeing 737-800 model, complete with mood lighting and 300 hours of extra in-flight entertainment.
The pilot, Captain Brett Jensen who was born and raised in Gladstone, executed the tricky landing into Gladstone Airport not far from where he earned his wings.
"Gladstone is the shortest runway I've had to land a 737 on so far," he said.
"But this aircraft is a short field performance variant of 737, with modifications and extra power, and so we had no trouble."
Captain Jensen was greeted at the arrival gate by proud parents Max and Valerie Jensen, who were looking forward to having their son and his family home in Calliope to celebrate Christmas together.
The last time Captain Jensen flew into Gladstone was 1990.
"I asked to do the flight because I thought it would be a great opportunity to see how much the airport has changed," Captain Jensen said.
"And it's also a great chance to bring up the presents ahead of our family Christmas in Calliope."
A senior 737 captain in Brisbane, he started his flying training at Piccolo Aviation, later joining Qantas in 1992.
"I'm a technical person and I really enjoy the consistency of doing things right, and continuing to do them well over and over again," he said.
Bechtel employees were in a joyous mood at the airport yesterday, eagerly anticipating arriving home to their awaiting families.
Fitter Kelly Alexander said she was grateful to Bechtel for going above and beyond.
"They really have looked after us," she said.
"It's good to see they want us to spend the holidays with our families."