BY IZZY KINGTON
Pilatus delivered the first PC-24 with a medevac interior on November 26, 2018. The cabin was developed to meet the requirements of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS) Western Operations. It will enable medevac missions across Australia.
“The RFDS Western Operations is proud to be introducing with Pilatus the first Rio Tinto Lifeflight PC-24 into service in Australia,” said Rebecca Tomkinson, CEO at RFDS. “The innovative aeromedical interior is the first of its kind in the world – a game-changer for patient outcomes and improving health care to regional and remote Australians.”
“The PC-24 will become the emergency ward in the sky and will almost halve the time for long-haul critical patient scenarios,” said Oscar J Schwenk, chairman at Pilatus. “I am positive that the PC-24 will ideally supplement the existing fleet of PC-12s of the RFDS. The PC-24 will enable the RFDS to enhance the outstanding service that they provide to the Australian people. In the name of Pilatus, I would like to express my most sincere thanks for the trust and I am extremely proud that the RFDS now flies the Pilatus PC-24 as the first Super Versatile Jet medevac operator in the world.”
The interior was installed under an STC procedure in partnership with Aerolite, a Swiss company specializing in medical aircraft interiors. The RFDS Western Operations is the first organization to use the Super Versatile Jet as a medevac aircraft. The RFDS Central Operations will follow in 2019.
The pressurized cabin can accommodate the required medical equipment and beds for three patients and has additional seats for medical personnel. The cabin is designed to enable fast, flexible modification to meet the needs of different missions. The large cargo door and bespoke electric stretcher loading device are designed to facilitate safe, ultra-easy loading and unloading of patients. The cargo door comes as standard fit from the factory.
Individual oxygen, vacuum and power systems ensure multiparameter patient monitoring and support. Additional security is provided in the form of a second and separate power system for the cabin and dedicated communication systems for the medical crew.
In continuous operation since 1928, the RFDS is one of the world’s largest aeromedical organizations. It provides medical assistance across Australia, plus a 24-hour emergency service. The RFDS currently owns a fleet of more than 35 PC-12s. It will use the PC-24 from 2019.
The PC-24 will be used for the cost-effective transportation of patients over longer distances in conjunction with the existing fleet of PC-12s. The PC-24 was developed from the outset for outback use, with the ability to use short runways and unpaved strips. This is exactly how the RFDS plans to use it.