A new B360 aircraft has been acquired by the Queensland section of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the first of its kind to fly in Australia.
The RFDS has secured six of the Beechcraft King Air 360CHW turboprop aircrafts, the first of which will land in Australia this week, followed by three more later this year and the remaining two in 2023.
At $16 million a piece, the total investment is around $100 million, money well spent to ensure the health of rural Queenslander's in future years.
The new aircrafts will be a major asset to the RFDS, being the fastest twin turboprop planes in the country, allowing pilots to fly further and faster in emergency situations.
RFDS (Queensland section) Chief Executive Officer Meredith Staib said the new fleet would ensure the longevity of the service as it nears 100 years of flight care.
"The Beechcraft King Air 360 aircraft forms a key part of our 10-year aircraft replacement strategy, which will ensure continuity of first-class aeromedical care well into the future," she said.
"In addition to the aeromedical retrieval of the critically-ill or injured, the RFDS also delivers a vital inter-hospital transfer service in partnership with the Queensland Government and a broad range of essential primary health care services to regional, rural and remote communities.
"The delivery of these vital services will be enhanced by the acquisition of our new aircraft."
Benefits provided by the new aircraft include a reduction in pilot workload and an increase in patient comfort.
RFDS (Queensland Section) Executive General Manager Aviation and Logistics Glyn Butchard said these improvements, along with technology advancements, would increase performance and efficiency within the service.
"Synthetic vision and autothrottle provide an additional level of safety, reduces pilot workload and increases situational awareness, while the upgraded engines, five bladed composite propellers and anti-skid braking system will provide better performance allowing operations into shorter runways," he said.
"Another update in the cockpit is the new digital pressurisation controller, which automatically schedules cabin pressurisation during both climb and descent, reducing pilot workload and increasing overall patient comfort."
Over the next 29 weeks the new aircraft will be kitted out with state-of-the-art equipment, enabling the flying doctors to continue providing top healthcare to Queenslander's in rural and remote locations.
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