Royal Australian Air Force and Flying Doctors Land on Highway

Source: Royal Flying Doctor Service

Local media has shown video of practice landings by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). The aircraft landings involved the shutting down of an interstate highway by the South Australian Police (SAPOL) on 18 October. The landing practice was done with a C-27J Spartan from 35 Squadron RAAF and a RFDS PC-12, registration VH-FXJ, on the Chadwick strip on the Eyre Highway in South Australia (SA). The highway crosses the remote Nullarbor Plain. It was the first time that the Spartan crew and the RFDS Chief Pilot had made such a landing.

Due to the remoteness of the Australian Outback, sections of some highways double as emergency airstrips. Each airstrip is signposted for motorists, has threshold markings on each end of the strip, and turn around bays. When the emergency airstrips are going to be used, police will block off both ends of the strip.

The RFDS is one of the largest aeromedical services in the world, is not-for-profit and one of the most trusted Australian charities. The RFDS provides primary healthcare and 24/7 emergency care to those in remote, rural and outback Australia covering 7.69 million kilometres (4.78 million miles). Their entire fleet flew 26 157 502 kilometres (16 253 518 miles) last year. Services include emergency aeromedical retrivial, GP and nurse clinics, dental clinics, mental health services, patient transfers, tele health, health education and research. Most of it’s funding comes from public and corporate donations.

The RFDS has a fleet of aircraft that consists of 1 Hawker 800XP that serves Western Australia (WA) and the Northern Territory (NT), 32 Pilatus PC-12 in SA, NT and WA, 2 King Air B350 C and 32 King Air 200 and 200 C in Queensland (Qld), New South Wales (NSW), Victoria (Vic) and Tasmania (Tas) and 2 Cessna C208 in Qld. They also have PC 24 jets on order for WA, SA and NT.

RFDS Press Release

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