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RFDS unveils new fixed-wing livery

written by Hannah Dowling | June 3, 2022

The Royal Flying Doctor Service south eastern section (RFDSSE) has unveiled its first aircraft donning the organisation’s new national livery.

The Beechcraft Super King Air 200, registration VH-XYJ, now features a red belly and blue tail which will be progressively rolled out throughout the fleet.

According to the RFDS, the plane was stripped, cleaned, repaired and repainted in Wagga Wagga, before being transferred to Toowoomba for an “extensive” upgrade to its avionics.

This included the installation of a second GPS, a second flight management system, an enhanced traffic collision avoidance system, as well as an updated satellite tracking and communication system, and CB radio.

The plane was later ferried to Wollongong for an interior refurbishment, including a new cargo net, and a general interior refresh, the organisation said.

RFDSSE general manager, operations and service delivery, Claudio Grasso said the new updates and refurbishments took about four months to complete.

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VH-XYJ will predominately be positioned at Broken Hill for service but will be regularly used across the entire network, he said.

“From time to time we may need to have it repositioned at Dubbo to support any service requirements that may arise in the network.”

Grasso said it was a team effort to ensure the aircraft was ready for take-off, adding he was extremely proud of his colleagues.

“There was some really good work done by our aviation teams to get it to where it is today.

“From a regulatory perspective, there was also lot of work to ensure the aircraft met all requirements which needs a co-ordinated team effort.”

Last year, the RFDS announced it would acquire four new Beechcraft King Air 360CHW turboprop aircraft.

Textron Aviation designs and manages the King Air 360s and its head of flying operations, Shane Lawrey, said the aircraft features significant technological upgrades.

“The autothrottle automatically manages engine power from the take-off roll, through the climb, cruise, descent, go-around and landing phases of flight,” said Lawrey.

“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.”

However, since then, the RFDS has turned its sights to rotor capabilities, with two Airbus EC-145s joining the fleet this year, based at Jandakot.

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