This is Matt Wright and he is the manliest man you’ll ever meet. Wright is a ‘muster pilot’ from the Australian Outback who wrangles, relocates and protects cattle herds – not with a horse or truck, but with a helicopter.
Wait, what?! Yes, a helicopter. Whipping, flipping, and swooping around the flood plains of Australia’s Northern Territory, Wright patrols an area about the size of Singapore and redefines the modern cowboy as he uses his helicopter to herd thousands of cattle over the area.
Growing up in the outdoors, Wright knew that working in the big city as a businessman was not the way for him – nor was spending hours and hours on a slow horse. “I love the land,” he says, “but I didn’t want to be on a horse for the rest of my life.”
If it’s a big croc, you really have to sit down and think how are you going to move this thing, or actually catch it.Matt Wright
When working, Wright regularly flies below 150m, but sometimes he will fly as low as 3m to herd the cattle, and at incredible speeds there is no room for error. “You’re down low, amongst the trees – you’ve just got to have your wits about you. You can't make mistakes out here, if you do – it’s very unforgiving,” Wright said.
But it’s not only about cattle, Wright also uses his helicopter handling skills to move crocodiles that find their way into the flood plains and endanger the cattle. The giant, dinosaur-like lizards can grow over 5m in length in this area, so you can imagine how ‘easy’ it is to wrangle one and relocate it.
“If it’s a big croc, you really have to sit down and think how are you going to move this thing, or actually catch it," says Wright. "You make a mistake with a big animal – it’s not a good mistake to make.”
Fortunately, that’s another one of Wright’s specialties. Without batting an eye, he is able to humanely catch, wrangle and move the crocs – so it’s not a big issue. Hmmm, we might have to trust the expert here.
Want to see more of the incredible action? Check out the full episode of Matt Wright, Cowboy Pilot on Red Bull TV.