Celebrating one year of service

Date published

09 Jun 2020

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Central Operations is celebrating one year of service for its RFDS Medi-Jet 24 – the ultimate intensive care unit that launched a new era in Australian aeromedical care.

As the world’s first purpose-built medical jet, the RFDS Medi-Jet 24 has delivered an impressive 12 months of care in the air:

  • flown to/from 31 locations, visiting every state and territory in Australia;
  • airlifted more than 320 patients;
  • clocked up over 230,000 kilometres; and
  • saved more than 360 flying hours in getting patients to life-saving care.

“We knew the RFDS Medi-Jet 24 would always be a game-changer in our delivery of care and it has well and truly delivered on this promise in its first year of service,” says Tony Vaughan ASM, Chief Executive of RFDS Central Operations.

“Crucially, the jet-speed performance of the RFDS Medi-Jet 24 has enabled the Flying Doctor to reach patients faster than ever before,” Mr Vaughan says.

“In an emergency environment when every minute counts, saving more than 360 flying hours – equivalent to one hour every day – in the retrieval and treatment of our patients is just an extraordinary achievement."

“Total mission time matters. The bespoke rear patient loading door and built-in stretcher loader system has reduced task turnaround times to further slash time total mission times for our patients.”

The RFDS Medi-Jet 24’s inaugural mission on 6 June 2019 was the ICU transfer of a critically-ill patient from the Alice Springs Hospital to Royal Melbourne Hospital for life-saving neurosurgery.

The direct flight took the medical jet just three hours – two hours quicker than a turbo-propelled Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, which comprises the majority of the RFDS Central Operations fleet. 

The RFDS Medi-Jet 24 played a key role in transporting some the nation’s first confirmed COVID-19 patients from Darwin to Adelaide, as well as airlifted critically-ill patients from outback locations such as Birdsville and remote mining sites in remote South Australia.

Merging the Flying Doctor’s signature aeromedical interior with the world-class performance of the Pilatus PC-24 Super Versatile medical jet, the RFDS Medi-Jet 24 remains the benchmark in its class: 

  • ICU capability for three stretchered patients – enhanced response to mass casualty incidents or natural disasters;
  • Custom rear patient loading door – safer, quicker loading of patients and specialist medical equipment;
  • Built-in patient stretcher-loader – optimum patient safety and reduced risk of injury to clinicians;
  • Advanced bariatric solution – enhanced stretcher and stretcher-loader weight-lifting capabilities; 
  • Right-engine Quiet Power Mode – constant electrical supply and cabin conditioning whilst standing on tarmac;
  • Superior short-field take-off/landing – greater operational flexibility and access to regional aerodromes;
  • Unpaved airfield capability – unmatched airfield access and mobility in remote parts of the country; and
  • Certified for single-pilot operation – unrivalled operational efficiency and payload carrying capability.

Download the Capability Statement for the RFDS Medi-Jet 24.