The Royal Flying Doctor Service RFDS is a name synonymous with the vast Australian outback. Seven days a week and around the clock, the RFDS is tasked with servicing Australia’s largest “waiting room”, an area spanning 7.9 million square kilometers in some of the remotest regions of the world.
The “waiting room” is divided into states and territories, each of which is serviced by a particular RFDS chapter. The two largest chapters, Western Ops (RFDSWO) and Central Ops (RFDSCO) use the medevac version of the PC-24 to reach patients as quickly as possible in an emergency. Regular training is required to ensure readiness at all times.
An exceptional rescue exercise
Last April, RFDSCO teamed up with the South Australia Police Force and State Emergency Service to conduct a training mission simulating a major road incident on the Traeger Road Strip, a section of the Stuart Highway. While simulations of this type are a regular occurrence, this one was rather special for two reasons: it was the first time a PC-24 landed on a major highway in the middle of the outback, and the RFDS is the first organization to have ordered an aeromedical PC-24.
A landing requiring total concentration
Landing on the Traeger Road Strip was anything but simple. The road had to be shut down during the exercise and the pilots had to contend with challenging conditions, including crosswinds of up to twelve knots and temperatures between 104 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit. The PC-24 touched down without problem to the applause of numerous bystanders. The successful outcome of this simulation further highlighted the all-terrain suitability of the PC-24, and demonstrated yet again why organizations like the RFDS rely on our aircraft for their all-important missions.
The Stuart Highway connects the Northern Territory and South Australia over 2,800 kilometers (1,740 miles) and runs through the heart of Kokatha country. Some 2.1 million people live in this vast region which extends across 2.3 million square kilometers, yet there are only 5 hospitals. In comparison, Switzerland is 56 times smaller and has approximately 276 hospitals. The RFDS plays an essential role in enabling communities to exist in such remote areas. Source: ‚Pilatus Aircraft‚. Video.