THE RFDS SIMULATOR – REAL PULLING POWER
Royal Flying Doctor Service
Mount Isa, QLD
4x4 D-MAX X-TERRAIN
Rural Medical Support
If you've ever travelled the Australian outback, you'll know it's filled with stunning scenery and unique sights that capture the imagination.
However, nothing turns heads quite like the fleet of Royal Flying Doctor Service aeromedical simulators that frequent the outback as they travel gracefully down highways and into regional towns. After all, it's not every day you see an aeroplane being towed behind a vehicle.
It's not just the simulator's appearance that captures people's attention. Most people in the outback have a personal connection to the RFDS, and there's a deep affinity for the organisation.
Kym and John Warner, RFDS Ambassadors, have been towing a simulator with their Isuzu D-MAX around Queensland for nearly six months as part of the RFDS community engagement program, and they attest to the drawing power of the simulator.
"People come from everywhere to see it, and they've all got a story of a personal experience with the RFDS," says Kym. "They want to share their story, say thanks, and quite often they donate without us even asking. To people in the outback, the RFDS is the lifeblood of the community."
Kym and John are constantly on the road, taking the simulator to community events, festivals and schools. As John explains, it's a great chance for people to check out the simulator and see how it all works.
"It's pretty much the same as the real planes that we fly. People can get in there and have a look at the setup, including the cockpit, the patient beds and medical equipment, and get an idea of what it's like to fly a life-saving mission," explains John. "People are often surprised by how small it is inside, and how the medical teams can do so much in the space they have."
Kym adds that kids especially enjoy the experience.
"They love popping on the pilot's hat, taking the controls in the cockpit, and experimenting with bandages and stethoscopes. Getting them back out of the simulator is usually the hardest part," laughs Kym. "It also gives us the chance to talk to kids about what the RFDS does, and even suggest possible career options for them in the future."
With their affable nature and warm personalities, Kym and John are the perfect couple for this role. Before taking on the job, Kym worked for the RFDS for nearly a decade in fundraising, so she knows the organisation inside out. John, meanwhile, spent years working as a maintenance lead on Bushmasters, one of Australia's most robust and iconic military vehicles. This experience makes him ideal to have on deck should any issues arise out on the road.
"I once had to repack the bearings on the simulator trailer wheels; I did that on the side of the road," remembers John with a smile.
John enjoys having the D-MAX to tow the simulator, and he says he appreciates its reliability and performance.
With another long journey ahead of them to the next town, Kym takes a moment to reflect on the partnership between the RFDS and Isuzu UTE.
"What we do with the simulator is just one part of a bigger picture. The Flying Doctor works 24/7, 365 days a year. We have 23 bases around the country, and we help hundreds of thousands of people every year. Having the D-MAX means we can safely visit many regional communities and locations," says Kym.
"The Royal Flying Doctor Service is grateful to have the support of Isuzu UTE. It helps us to keep our service flying and driving right across the country."
For more details about the partnership between Isuzu UTE Australia and the RFDS, visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service Partnership Page. You can also support the RFDS by making a donation using the link below.