News -

CareFlight’s Toowoomba chopper turns 10,000

RACQ CareFlight’s iconic Toowoomba-based helicopter “The Clive” clocked up its 10,000th hour in the air today.

The major milestone was reached when the chopper was called to airlift a patient from Hervey Bay back to the Royal Brisbane Hospital this afternoon; a four hour flight that officially tipped the 10K mark.

“This is a fantastic achievement by one of our most hard-working aircraft,” CareFlight CEO Ashley van de Velde said.

“In fact, it is the equivalent of spending 24 hours per day, every day in the air, for more than a year. It’s really quite incredible.”

CareFlight purchased “The Clive” - a Bell 412 helicopter - back in 2010 when its part-time Toowoomba service went to a 24/7 operation.

“To reach this milestone in just four years demonstrates how busy our Toowoomba team is.

“This helicopter alone has transported thousands of sick and injured patients in its lifetime and last year flew 112 rescue flights.

"We’re proud to say its entire tenure has been spent flying right here in our community.”

South West Queensland continues to be the most active region for the charitable rescue service with 43% of all flights happening in the area last year.

“I’d like to thank everyone who donates to our cause because we would never have reached this milestone without you,” Mr van de Velde said.

To commemorate ‘turning 10,000’, the CareFlight crew enjoyed some celebratory cake, sharing a tale or two from their time in the iconic chopper. [Pictures below]

CareFlight’s engineering team then immediately got to work on the chopper’s 10,000 hour service.

“This helicopter has served the community extremely well over the years, but CareFlight is currently considering a fleet replacement program to renew the hard-working aircraft,” Mr van de Velde said.

“The Clive” is named after well-known philanthropist Clive Berghofer who donated a million dollars to the service over ten years.