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Centenarian takes to the skies for birthday joyride

LIFT OFF: Elsie Brown, from Pomona, is turning 100 years old and to celebrate, Helitec donated a 30-minute helicopter flight. Daughter Kathleen Jeffery and grandaughter Karen Harris joined Mrs Brown for the flight.
LIFT OFF: Elsie Brown, from Pomona, is turning 100 years old and to celebrate, Helitec donated a 30-minute helicopter flight. Daughter Kathleen Jeffery and grandaughter Karen Harris joined Mrs Brown for the flight. Warren Lynam

A LETTER from the Queen, family gatherings and birthday cake is how most would ring in their 100th birthday.

However, for the sprightly Pomona resident Elsie Brown, taking to the skies above the Sunshine Coast was an adrenalin rush she couldn't resist to mark the century milestone.

Mrs Brown jumped into a bright red Robinson R66 turbine helicopter alongside Helitec CEO Phil Aldridge and took off from the Sunshine Coast Airport yesterday afternoon for a scenic flight to Noosa.

Helitec donated the 30-minute joyride, flying over the Noosa River and National Park during the flight.

The helicopter is one of only about 12 in Australia, with owner Ron Harris flying the aircraft more than 1000km from Airlie Beach for the event to ensure his wife's grandmother hit the skies in style.

Despite the joyride being a surprise, Mrs Brown said she wasn't fazed by the high-flying gift and looked forward to trying "something new".

"I have been in an aeroplane but not in a helicopter to just have a look at things," she said.

Mrs Brown said she would normally spend her birthday catching up with family and never expected to be jumping into a helicopter for the first time.

"I was surprised," she said.

"My family always gives me a party for my birthday and that's one of the highlights."

Granddaughter Karen Harris was integral to organising the surprise trip in her husband's helicopter.

"We happened to be coming down here and it's about time she went in a helicopter," Mrs Harris said.

"It's fantastic and I just hope she loves it."

Helitec CEO Phil Aldridge said he was pleased to be able to make Mrs Brown's 100th birthday celebrations a memorable one.

"It's a privilege and I have a lot of respect for seniors with that (life) experience and you can learn a lot from them," Mr Aldridge said.

"I think it's an experience she hasn't had and when I spoke to Ron earlier today he said she's been waiting 100 years for this. Isn't it amazing?"

Hitting the century mark is a significant milestone, but to Mrs Brown, it was just another day.

She will officially turn 100 on July 16.

"I didn't realise it was the 100th," she said.

"I'm very lucky and have no aches or pains and can still look after myself."

There were no secrets to a long and happy life, according to Mrs Brown.

"I chose my parents well, I think, it must be (good genes)," she joked.

The Robinson R66 turbine helicopter will remain with Helitec for the next few weeks to be used for scenic flights and other operations.

Topics:  100th birthday helicopter noosa sunshine coast airport


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