Tuesday, March 31, 2020

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Service Takes Delivery of Three ex-RAAF Challenger 604 Bizjets for Medical Retrieval Operations

It has been interesting to note that over the last month or so, the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Service has received three additional Canadair CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 air ambulance bizjets that previously were flown by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

VH-OFC, VH-OFA & VH-OFB all at Burbank in the USA

As we have reported last year, all three of the RAAF's VIP 34 Squadron Challenger 604 bizjets - A37-001, A37-002 and A37-003 - all departed Australian shores during 2019, with them all ultimately arriving into Burbank Airport in California in the United States of America - as shown above and below.

A37-002 at Burbank

While over in the United States, all three Challenger 604s were placed on the Australian (civil) Aircraft Register as VH-OFA, VH-OFB and VH-OFC respectively, with the registration holder being a Sydney-based leasing company.  This has since changed to Aeromed Queensland, with the registered operator also now listed at LifeFlight Australia.

VH-OFA prepares to depart Burbank

The first to arrive back in Australia was VH-OFC (ex A37-003) which touched down at Brisbane on Saturday 15 February.  It took to the air for the first time on Saturday 7 March (pictured below) but looked to return to Brisbane where it has remained ever since.

VH-OFC departs Brisbane Airport on a test flight

Next to arrive back in Australia was VH-OFA (ex A37-001) which touched down at Townsville on Thursday 20 February.  It first took to the air on Monday 23 March and seems to be about to enter service with LifeFlight as one of three Air Ambulance jets that are now on standby to airlift suspected or confirmed Coronavirus and other patients, from Queensland regional centres, under an upgraded deal signed off by the Queensland State Government.  VH-OFA is pictured below at Darwin in the early hours on Tuesday 24 March.

VH-OFA at Darwin Airport

The third and final to arrive back in Australia was VH-OFB (ex A37-002) which touched down at Brisbane on Saturday 21 March.  It appears to be still hangared as it doesn't appear as though it has taken to the air as yet.

Finally, the valuable community service that is LifeFlight has launched an emergency COVID-19 (Coronavirus) appeal.

Unfortunately for the organisation, approximately $200,000 in funds will be lost as a result of the cancellation of fundraising events due to this COVID-19 pandemic so far.

To make up for these financial losses, and to fund the equipment needed for this COVID-19 response, LifeFlight needs to raise $600,000 as soon as possible. You can help them save as many lives as possible over these times of crisis and give what you can today by donating HERE.

Thank you for your support.

Photos taken by Ray, Lloyd Fox and Sid Mitchell  ©

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