Keep Flynn flying
Joining forces with the Royal Flying Doctor Service to keep Australia’s emergency wards flying in the sky
Meet Reverend John Flynn; you may have seen him before in your wallet or purse if you live down under or have visited Australia. He's the founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and features on the Aussie $20 note.
Before the RFDS there was little medical help for people who lived in remote parts of Australia, far from cities. If they were seriously injured they had to travel hundreds of kilometres by horse, cart, or camel to reach a doctor.
Let's step back in time
John Flynn's vision was to create a "mantle of safety" for these communities, and in 1928 he opened the Australian Inland Mission Aerial Medical Service, later to be the RFDS.
Since the RFDS's inception, they have been helping people in the most remote regions of Australia to get medical help. Back then the team used to use camels in rural areas. But they were a little slow and unpredictable. And that's why in 1928 the RFDS welcomed their first ever aircraft – the Victory.
Since then the RFDS fleet has evolved with technologies and innovations. Rio Tinto joined forces with RFDS, committing A$22.5 million of funding, which includes $10 million towards two new Rio Tinto LifeFlight PC-24 jets. They ensure patients anywhere in Western Australia can be reached within approximately three hours.
The Rio Tinto LifeFlight jet is the most advanced emergency ward in the sky. The Pilatus PC-24 can fly to where it's needed most at max cruising speed of 815km per hour. That's six times faster than RFDS' beloved Victory.
"The new Rio Tinto LifeFlight PC-24 jets are a game changer in aero medical care, enabling reduced flight times and increased capacity for patients and medical teams," says Rebecca Tomkinson, RFDS chief executive.
The jets can fly for over 3,500km without refuelling and can land on all kinds of airstrips, which is what the RFDS need to reach and treat people living in the outback. It means the RFDS can get to people twice as fast to save more lives.
RFDS fast facts
Flown by RFDS last financial year
Patients flown by RFDS’ expert teams
Patients transported by road
Episodes of dental care provided
Telehealth consultations conducted
Medical chests provided
Air bases across the country
Aircraft in national fleet
Healthcare vehicles in national fleet