Royal Flying Doctors Service of Australia Pilatus PC-12 single engine air ambulance aircraft taking off from Adelaide Airport.

Construction has begun on a $25 million ‘world-class’ aviation training facility for the Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS), to be built in Bundaberg, Queensland.

Bundaberg-based Murchie Constructions has been awarded the contract to build the facility.

The new facility will be constructed next to the existing RFDS Bundaberg Base and house the only Beechcraft King Air Pro Line Fusion Full-Flight Simulator (FFS) in Australia.

Once built, RFDS pilots from across Queensland will spend at least two weeks at the training facility each year, while non-RFDS pilots will also be able to use the simulator for their endorsements or recurrent training for King Air aircraft. 

Representatives from the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS), QCoal Foundation, Australian Government and Bundaberg Regional Council gathered on site to celebrate ground being broken on the development.

RFDS (Queensland Section) Chief Executive Officer, Meredith Staib, said the purpose-built facility will provide world class training technology to RFDS pilots and others.

“I’m incredibly excited to see work commence on our new Aviation Training Facility which will help support the ongoing training of our highly skilled pilots, as well as pilots from across Australia and Asia,” Ms Staib said.

“This purpose-built facility will play a vital role as we head towards 100 years of the Flying Doctor, with innovative aviation and training technology on our doorstep helping to ensure the continuity of world-class training for our pilots and crew – allowing them to continue to provide the finest care to patients right across Queensland. 

“This new facility simply wouldn’t be possible without the support of our long-standing partners QCoal Foundation, as well as the Australian Government and Bundaberg Regional Council – we’re enormously thankful for their support.” 

The RFDS Aviation Training Facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

The $25.3 million facility is jointly funded, with $14.9 million from the Australian Government and $3 million from QCoal Foundation. The land for the facility has been donated by Bundaberg Regional Council. RFDS will fund the remainder of the project through fundraising.

Federal Minister for Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King, said the project would support the RFDS’ essential services and deliver greater economic outcomes in Bundaberg.

“The Australian Government is proud to be contributing nearly $15 million to make this critical project a reality,” Ms King said.

“This will support the essential medical services of the RFDS by providing a world-class facility for training their pilots.

“It will also deliver a broader economic boost to Bundaberg and surrounds by supporting local jobs and attracting these pilots to visit, stay and shop in the region, while strengthening our domestic medical aviation capacity.”

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