Education. Learning is fun, especially when the school day involves a tour of the Royal Flying Doctor Service aircraft.
The ‘Look! Up in the Sky’ education program has toured Tasmanian primary schools for one month, stopping at Redpa and Edith Creek in early September.
Local students had the opportunity to climb on board, strap themselves in and enjoy the unique experience of rescuing a patient and landing an aircraft in the outback.
“Students visited the simulator, testing out their communication skills on the radio as a pilot; checking students’ heart rate as a doctor and guiding the plane in to land safely as an airport controller,” said Redpa principal Sarah Cuthbertson.
“The simulator gave children a virtual experience with the equipment and enhanced their overall understanding the important job royal flying doctors do for our Australian community.”
The educational program uses the iconic status of the RFDS and its real-life stories to teach students about the unique nature of the Australian landscape and people’s relationship with it in everyday settings.
The focus of the tour is the interactive aeromedical simulator: a life-sized replica of the fuselage and cockpit of a flying doctor aircraft.
Fully interactive, it includes a cockpit, complete with avionics, a propeller, flight simulator and is equipped with stretchers, oxygen, suction and communications.
Edith Creek grade six students Jasmine Quarrell and Maci Sweetman and grade five student Miah Blake wrote about the day:
‘They talked to us about how long the royal flying doctors have been around, they also talked to us about how and why they started the flying doctors.
‘It was because there was some people who were hours away from a shop, that means that the closest hospital would be hours away as well, so if it was a life threatening situation the patient would have died before they reached the hospital.
‘Also, a girl named Elizabeth owned a farm bigger than Tasmania, the closest shop was three hours and it would take her three hours to get there, one hour shopping and three hours to get back home, that’s seven hours all up.
‘If Elizabeth ever got really sick her parents would have to call the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
‘One day Elizabeth had got very sick and her mother called the royal flying doctors and luckily she was saved in time, all thanks to the royal flying doctors for saving that girl’s life.’