The Queensland Section of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) today announced they had signed an agreement to buy four new Beechcraft King Air 360s to add to their fleet.
The new aircraft will complement the existing fleet of 20 aircraft, which operates across eight bases in the state. RFDS QLD logged over 21,000 flying hours last year, with missions going into 224 sites.
“It is vital that the RFDS, one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organisations, remains future fit as we near 100 years of operation,” said RFDS QLD CEO Meredith Staib.
“Late last year we entered into a new 10-year inter-hospital transfer partnership with the Queensland Government, ensuring another decade of aeromedical care for the state.
“The Beechcraft King Air 360 aircraft will form a key part of our 10-year aircraft replacement strategy, which will ultimately ensure we can continue to deliver world-class aeromedical retrievals and healthcare to regional, rural and remote Queenslanders.”
Head of Flying Operations Shane Lawrey said the King Air 360 featured technological advancements in the cockpit, as well as enhancements to patient comfort.
“The autothrottle automatically manages engine power from the take-off roll, through the climb, cruise, descent, go-around and landing phases of flight," he said. "This enhancement reduces pilot workload and supports them to prevent over-speed or under-speed, over-temp and over-torque conditions.
“Another update in the cockpit is the new digital pressurisation controller, which automatically schedules cabin pressurisation during both climb and descent, reducing pilot workload and increasing overall patient comfort.”
The first two of the four new aircraft are expected in the RFDS hangars late this year, with a projected entry into service on early 2022. The second two aircraft are scheduled for delivered in the second half of 2022.
RFDS Queensland Section also has options to buy another two B360 King Airs.