Inaugural recipient of the "Southern Cross Award"
In September 2012 the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame proudly presented the inaugural “Southern Cross Award”, honouring an organisation which has made an outstanding contribution to aviation, to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Since our first flight in fabric covered De Havilland DH50 in 1928 hired from the predecessor to QANTAS, aviation has been a core enabler of RFDS activities. The vast distances across our nation have required a capability able to get quickly to the scene of an accident or emergency and then just as quickly to the nearest suitable medical facility. Only aircraft have been able to “shrink” the problem of time and distance for our remote communities and homesteads. Our early flight pioneers including pilots, engineers, doctors and nurses created this ability to help those in far flung places and at the same time evolved a model that has been adopted and is envied in many places around the world.
Today’s modern intensive care aircraft are a far reach from their predecessors and can transport our patients and crew safely, comfortably and efficiently in all weathers and at any time of day or night. Our highly skilled pilots are often called on to perform tasks completely foreign to most of their peers and together with our flight nurses and doctors form a highly skilled and integrated team.
But our aircraft don’t only do emergency retrievals and patient transport. The RFDS now takes a pro-active stance to reduce the number of emergencies by conducting primary health care clinics. Again using aircraft allows us to quickly deliver clinicians to many very remote sites in a single day with the maximum amount of time at each place. This would be a very difficult and time consuming task to conduct by road, particularly in times such as the wet seasons.
Operating our aircraft into the remote and rugged areas of Australia can take its toll on the airframes. The RFDS has an ongoing aircraft replacement program and new technology is constantly being incorporated onboard. But this all comes at a rising cost so your generous support is always sought.