Royal Flying Doctor Service simulator up and away in Rosedale

Between SES, Lion's Club of Rosedale, and Ambulance Victoria, the Royal Flying Doctor Service can continue to help people around Australia.

Katrina Brandon

UP, up, up and away with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) at the Lions Club of Rosedale op shop on Wednesday, February 28, as people passing by could come and see what it is like to fly in a Royal Flying Doctor Service plane.

The grounded flight is now purposed for educational purposes around Victoria and Tasmania, spending every day on the road, visiting schools and community events.

“We do this pretty much every day. The Royal Flying Doctor simulator goes somewhere in the community to help educate people on services around Victoria and Tasmania,” the plane transporter and education program manager, Tom Ryan said.

“For the last seven weeks, we have been touring Gippsland, and (we’ve been) doing other educational opportunities since August 2023.”

Entering the aircraft, the space that the RFDS has within the plane comes into reality. Even someone as short as five feet had to bend down to walk around inside, and medical professionals would be working on their hands and knees to help patients.

Within the plane, there is room for three seats, and two stretches with equipment either on hooks above stretchers or in a small storage area at the rear. Getting even smaller, the cockpit was barely arm’s length for two pilots.

While this simulator was an older model, Mr Ryan said it still shares the experience of what it is like in Victoria and Tasmania’s single service. Mr Ryan told the Gippsland Times that by March 20, they will have a newer model to educate communities around Victoria about the service.

The event was held from 10am until 4pm, and many people stopped by for a look. Joining the Royal Flying Doctor Service was the SES, the Lions Club of Rosedale and Ambulance Victoria.

Ambulance Victoria handed out information about CPR, first aid courses, the new clinic, and virtual emergency departments. People could also compare the difference between ground and air ambulances within the state.

The SES was there to help educate people on their service, and share their experiences. SES community resilience coordinator, Rachel Rogers, told the Gippsland Times that there is a misconception that, as a member, you have to be a part of saving lives directly, or on the end of a chainsaw. She said there are a few office opportunities within SES, and there are a number of the courses you can do with the SES that can open your opportunities.

Now on the road again, the Royal Flying Doctor Service simulator will be heading around Victoria once again.

Tight spaces in the Royal Flying Doctor Service simulator where people can experience the world of medical aviation. Photos: Katrina Brandon

While this plane doesn’t roam the sky, it does educate communities around Victoria and Tasmania.