New-look Flying Doctor plane takes to the skies

Graphic: New-look Flying Doctor plane takes to the skies

New-look Flying Doctor plane takes to the skies

Date published

02 Aug 2022

Our planes have been a familiar and much-loved sight in the air for people in the bush for generations but a fantastic new look says loud and clear that the Flying Doctor is focused on the future and always here for outback communities when they need us.

After extensive work, the South Eastern Section is proud to reveal its first aircraft with a new national livery.

The organisation will progressively rollout the new paint scheme to all aircraft, which in keeping with the beautifully striking colours of our outback home, feature a red belly (representing the earth) and a blue tail (sky). 

As well as a repaint in the new RFDS livery, VH-XYJ aircraft underwent extensive avionics upgrade and interior refurbishment. 

The first step in the aircraft’s journey was to Wagga Wagga, where it was stripped to bare metal, cleaned and repaired, primed, and prepared for a brand-new paint job.

New-look Flying Doctor plane takes to the skies

After weeks of work, VH-XYJ was ready to soar to its next destination at Toowoomba in southern Queensland, for an avionic upgrade. 

To meet Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regulations, several extensive upgrades were completed including the installation of a second GPS (Global Positioning System), second FMS (Flight Management System) and upgraded current system to TCAS II (Traffic Collision Avoidance System). 

The upgrade also included a new satellite tracking and communication system and CB radio. 

Following a successful test flight, VH-XYJ departed for the coastal city of Wollongong for interior refurbishment.

Amongst general repair and refresh of the surfaces, a new cargo net was fitted at the back of the aircraft to ensure appropriate storage space. 

RFDSSE General Manager Operations and Service Delivery, Claudio Grasso, said the refurbishments took around four months to complete. 

The aircraft will be located at Broken Hill for service but will be regularly used across our entire network. 

Mr Grasso said it was a team effort to ensure the aircraft was ready for take-off, adding he was extremely proud of his colleagues. 

“There was some really good work done by our Aviation teams to get it to where it is today,” he explained. “Sometimes it’s the behind the scenes people who deserve the credit and I want to thank our aviation and engineering people who are proud to make our work possible by getting us there safely.”