Queensland Aviation Doctors unveil new high-tech aircraft

Queensland’s Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) today unveiled the first of a new fleet of aircraft that are set to revolutionize aeromedical care in Australia.

The Beechcraft King Air B360, which first landed in Australia last December, has undergone a state-of-the-art fit-out at the Queensland-based HeliMods facility, transforming it into a flying intensive care unit.

The new aircraft will enhance the capabilities of the Flying Doctor, with cutting-edge technology on board enabling crews to fly farther and faster, improving patient comfort and reducing pilot workload.

RFDS Managing Director (Queensland Section), Meredith Staib, said the new aircraft will be the first of seven B360s to join the RFDS fleet in Queensland.

“We are extremely excited to launch the first of this groundbreaking new fleet, which is a key part of our 10-year aircraft replacement strategy to ensure our crews can continue to provide first-class aeromedical care to Queenslanders,” Ms. Staib said.

“Like all RFDS services, this new aircraft and its innovative layout simply wouldn’t be possible without the support of Queensland Health and our incredible donors, fundraisers and partners – so to each of you, thank you for your support. unbelievable.

“The new B360 fleet will enhance our inter-hospital transfer service, which forms the backbone of the Queensland Health Aeromedical System, and is delivered in partnership with the Queensland Government.”

Rural Communities Minister Mark Furner said the improved RFDS fleet was great news for people living in remote parts of Queensland.

“Assets like these only enhance this iconic organization’s ability to help save lives, so it’s extremely important to keep the RFDS fleet at the forefront of medical aviation,” Furner said.

“I commend the RFDS for this important investment and for the work they are doing to connect people in the area to essential health services in Queensland.”

Shane Lawrey, RFDS (Queensland Section) flight operations manager, said the new B360 will join the existing fleet of 20 King Air planes, which have flown more than five million miles across Queensland during the year elapsed.

“The B360 aircraft will be the nation’s fastest twin-turboprop King Air aeromedical aircraft,” Lawrey said.

“In addition to reducing pilot workload, the upgraded engines, five-blade composite propellers and anti-skid braking system will improve aircraft performance and efficiency, allowing our crews to fly further and further. quickly to reach patients.

“Advances in the cockpit, such as the digital pressurization controller, will also increase overall patient comfort during a flight.”

Maree Cummins, nurse in charge of aeromedical training and clinical resources for the RFDS (Queensland section), said the cabin was designed to provide the best care in the air.

“The rear of the cabin has been specially customized to use every inch of space and create an intensive care unit in the sky,” Ms Cummins said.

“The innovative stretcher system, which integrates seamlessly with Queensland Ambulance Service stretchers, is also the first of its kind for fixed-wing aircraft in Queensland and will make it faster and easier to transfer patients in and out. from the plane.

“While the integrated cabin concept includes a connected control system that will allow on-board nurses and doctors to monitor medical battery, oxygen capacity and flow rates, and control cabin lighting, while remaining seated.”

Managing Director and Founder of HeliMods, Will Shrapnel, says his Queensland-based team have developed cutting-edge aeromedical technology that will transform the way critical care is delivered to those in need across our regions.

“We are incredibly proud to be working so closely with the RFDS on what is such an important capability for Queensland today and in the future,” Mr Shrapnel said.

“Our team has put their hearts into this collaboration by developing new technologies that will not only improve patient outcomes, but will also improve the working environment for dedicated RFDS teams.”

The aircraft unveiled today will enter service next month, while a second aircraft has now arrived in Australia for fitting out. The remaining five aircraft will be flown to Australia over the next 18 months.

The Beechcraft King Air 360 is designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation in the USA.

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