RFDS fleet to fly in

THE newest addition to the Royal Flying Doctor Service fleet will land in Naracoorte as part of a regional tour.

A full-scale replica RFDS Pilatus PC-12 aircraft will be on display for the public to inspect at Woolworths from 11am-2pm on Friday, February 28.

RFDS central operations general manager of marketing and public relations Charlie Paterson said the replica would give people a real feel for what happens when taken by the RFDS.

"Customers can step inside a RFDS flying intensive care unit, sit in the pilot's seat, lie on a stretcher, and feel what it's like to be a patient at 30,000 feet," he said.

The transportable aircraft fuselage is used by RFDS aeromedical crews for clinical training and cabin safety, as well as providing a unique experience for the general public to help increase awareness and understanding of the service.

Its community appearances also offer an opportunity to raise important funds for the RFDS, with visitors to the replica invited to contribute a gold coin donation.

"Every day, the RFDS will conduct over 100 aeromedical evacuations across the country - around 15 of those here in SA," Mr Paterson said.

"The SE is one of the busiest operating areas for the RFDS, with our crews landing in the region 900 times during 2012-13 - an average of two-and a half flights every day."

RFDS central operations volunteer coordinator Debbie Adams and retired experienced RFDS pilot David Marshman will accompany the replica at each of its community visits in the SE, sharing their experience with visitors and explaining the role of the organisaton.

The SE tour is being held with the support of RFDS charity partner Woolworths, whose staff will attend during the displays in Mount Gambier, Millicent and Naracoorte.

Woolworths selected the RFDS as its charity partner in SA/Northern Territory for 2013-14 in response to overwhelming feedback from customers and staff.

With the support of Woolworths customers, the partnership has so far raised $150,000.

"We sincerely thank Woolworths for its advocacy and charity partnership with the RFDS, and we applaud the way in which Woolworths customers - including those in the SE - have rallied behind these fundraising initiatives," Mr Paterson said.

"The $150,000 raised so far in SA/Northern Territory is a fantastic start and goes a long way towards reaching the $600,000 cost to equip a new aircraft and convert it into a 'flying intensive care unit'."

"The RFDS relies on the support of the community, at all levels."

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