RFDS receives $7 million Christmas gift from the community

Date published

24 Dec 2019

The $7 million Pilatus PC-12 aircraft – Foxtrot-November-Hotel (VH-FNH) or ‘Hotel’ as it is known to our crews – arrived in Adelaide just in time for a Christmas after an epic round-the-world journey from its Swiss factory.

The new aircraft was purchased with the support of corporate partners, local communities and individuals who have given to the RFDS through donations, bequests, sponsorships and fundraising events.

The aircraft will undergo its final conversion into a ‘flying intensive care unit’ before commencing aeromedical service and undertake two flights a day for the next 12 years.

In its lifetime, ‘Hotel’ will carry RFDS crews almost four million kilometres to provide the finest care to more than 9,000 Australians in need.

Charlie Paterson, RFDS Central Operations' Executive General Manager, Marketing & Stakeholder Relations, said the aircraft was “a Christmas gift to the community from the community”.

“The RFDS relies on fundraising and donations to replace our aircraft so we can’t thank the community enough for delivering the ultimate gift to the Flying Doctor,” Mr Paterson said.

“This aircraft will airlift two patients in need every day for more than decade, be it the outback retrieval of a critically-ill patient or the urgent aeromedical transfer of someone from a regional or remote centre to a city hospital for life-saving or higher levels of care,” he said. 

“At a cost of $7 million ready to save lives, I can’t think of a better return on investment.”

RFDS Adelaide Base Senior Pilot Philip Remilton collected the PC-12 from the Pilatus factory in Stans, Switzerland in mid-December.

His eight-day, 16,000km journey home included stops in Heraklion (Crete, Greece), Hurghada (Egypt), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Hyderabad (India), Langkawi (Thailand), Bali (Indonesia) and Broome (WA) en route to its final destination, Adelaide (SA).

VH-FNH has replaced an older aircraft in the fleet nearing 15,000 hours of aeromedical service to the community.

Meet one of the high-flying additions to our fleet - the RFDS Medi-Jet 24.

Your donation goes directly towards the maintenance and delivery of life-saving equipment, such as this new PC-12 aircraft. Thank you for your support.