Flying Doctor Day 2021

Flying Doctor Day set for take-off

Date published

07 May 2021

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (WA) will celebrate Flying Doctor Day this month to mark the 93rd anniversary of the very first Flying Doctor flight in 1928.


Since the very first aeromedical flight took off on the morning of 17 May 1928, the RFDS has grown immensely. 

From a single plane in 1928, we now have a fleet of 18 aircraft in Western Australia which provides a ‘mantle of safety’ across more than 2.5 million square kilometres of the State.

On Monday 17 May, WA landmarks across the State will light up in red and blue and the RFDS will hold its first 24-hour Giving Day to mark the anniversary and encourage Western Australians to support our essential 24/7 emergency service.  

A street appeal will also be held in the Perth CBD on 14 May. 

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RFDS WA CEO Rebecca Tomkinson said every Western Australian can be proud of the work done by the RFDS on a daily basis.

"The Royal Flying Doctor Service represents the quintessential sense of what it means to be Western Australian - that a mate will always be there to help when you need them most," Rebecca said. 

"We are busier than ever, retrieving 26 patients per day from every corner of the State which is about 10 per cent more than average. In the last year, we have flown 8million kilometres. 

"The RFDS is incredibly fortunate to have so many supporters in WA and we encourage everyone to show their support for Flying Doctor Day in May."

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Rio tinto

Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Simon Trott said “Rio Tinto is proud to support the RFDS in its ongoing efforts to deliver essential healthcare and emergency services to remote and rural areas. 

“The RFDS does an incredible job in assisting the community and to celebrate 93 years of RFDS service, Rio Tinto is delighted to match public donations and triple-match “RioGivers” employee donations during the Flying Doctor Day Appeal.

“I encourage everyone to give generously, your support will greatly improve the RFDS’ capacity to deliver life-saving treatments to those in need.”

Giving Day

Matched Giving Partners Rio Tinto, IGO and CBH Group are generously supporting the Flying Doctor Day campaign by doubling every dollar donated by the WA community until 17 May. 

This means donations to the campaign will be doubed, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $250,000.

Western Australians are encouraged to celebrate Flying Doctor Day by: 

  1. Donating to the 24-hour Giving Day on 17 May or the Flying Doctor Street Appeal on 14 May

  2. Holding a Paper Plane Challenge at school or work.

  3. Sharing your best photos of WA landmarks lit up in blue and red on 17 May and tagging the Flying Doctor on Facebook or Instagram or using #FlyingDoctorWA (prize for best photo).