Jacinta Jones flight nurse RFDS

Aircraft innovation to benefit flight nurses

Date published

24 Dec 2021

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS) is excited to welcome the first of our four new Beechcraft King Air B360CHW turboprop aircraft.

Manufactured in Kansas, USA, the new aircraft will pave the way for aeromedical care in Australia and provide RFDS (Queensland Section) flight nurses the capacity to fly further and faster to patients in need.

RFDS State Manager – Aeromedical Nursing, Jacinta Jones, who has worked for the Flying Doctor for more than a decade, says she’s seen a lot of improvements and service expansions in her time, but the new aircraft might be the biggest transformation yet.

Jacinta says the improvement in technology will benefit both patients and crews.

“The new B360 will be able to access a wider range of airstrips which will enable better access to communities and reduce road transfers,” Jacinta said.

“Currently, when responding in a King Air B350 to a patient in Miles, they need to be transferred by road to Roma so that the RFDS can pick them up. The new B360s will be able to land at more airstrips so there will be a shorter transfer time for our patients.

“With the new additions to our fleet, we will be able to transport our patients where they need to be more quickly and in a more efficient manner.”

The new aircraft will be fit out with a redesigned and customised back-of-cabin, with every inch tailored to suit the needs of RFDS flights nurses and our patients.

Stretchers are a major focal point of the customisation.

“For flight nurses, the B360 has a more efficient loading system that does not require any lifting,” Jacinta said.

“The stretchers are interchangeable with Queensland Ambulance Service so the patients will have a streamlined and smooth transfer.

“The patient will go onto the stretcher, into the ambulance, onto the aircraft and into the receiving facility without needing to transfer between stretchers, reducing strain on crew and patients.

“The stretchers have a thicker mattress and are wider for patient comfort.”

Even the lighting fixtures have been designed for medical purposes.

“When we do a procedure in flight, we can brighten the lights to be able to see what we’re doing.

“If the patient is resting, we can dim the lights to ensure patient comfort.

“It’s the small innovations which make us excited to add this new asset to our already great fleet of retrieval aircraft.”

The $60 million investment in the future health of Queenslanders will allow the finest care to be delivered to regional, rural and remote parts of the state.