Tak­ing flight

QantasLink Sprit - - Heaven Sent -

The Royal Fly­ing Doc­tor Ser­vice was formed in 1928 as the Aus­tralian In­land Mis­sion Aerial Med­i­cal Ser­vice, with its first base in Clon­curry, Queens­land. Its founder, Rev­erend John Flynn, ap­pears on the Aus­tralian $20 note. Arthur Af­fleck, the first pi­lot, was an em­ployee of Queens­land and North­ern Ter­ri­tory Aerial Ser­vices Lim­ited (now known as Qan­tas), which leased a four-pas­sen­ger DH50A, as well as staff and equip­ment, to the fledg­ling oper­a­tion. Dr Kenyon St Vin­cent Welch was the ser­vice’s first doc­tor. The in­au­gu­ral flight took off from Clon­curry on 17 May 1928. In the first year, the two men flew more than 28,000 kilo­me­tres to treat 255 pa­tients.

In 2015, the RFDS had more than 290,000 emer­gency and pri­mary health­care pa­tient con­tacts. Its life-sav­ing med­i­cal chests are in 3500 lo­ca­tions across Aus­tralia.

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