Our core purpose is to save lives and serve the community through the provision of rapid response aeromedical care.

About LifeFlight Australia

Our purpose and history

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue has been Queensland’s leading community helicopter service for the past 40 years.

LifeFlight timeline

1981

The Gold Coast Helicopter Rescue Service is formed with current CEO Ashley van de Velde as a volunteer.

1981
1987

The service’s helicopter is upgraded to an AS350BA Squirrel.

1987
1989

The organisation’s current CEO Ashley van de Velde becomes Chief Aircrewman, a role he held for 12 years.

1989
1992

The service changes its name to CareFlight Group Queensland and operations expand beyond the Gold Coast to cover southern Queensland and northern New South Wales.

1992
1992
1993

RACQ becomes the naming rights sponsor for the helicopter rescue service.

1993
1994

CareFlight Training Services (now LifeFlight Training Academy) is established.

1994
1995

CareFlight purchases its first Bell 412 twin engine helicopter.

CareFlight introduces its iconic CareFlight Bears and merchandise sales to raise funds for the service.

1995
1995
2001

CareFlight Medical Services (now LifeFlight Retrieval Medicine) is established.

2001
2004

The Group’s fleet expands with the purchase of a Learjet 36 and CareFlight’s Air Ambulance service begins.

2004
2006

RACQ CareFlight Rescue begins part-time perations in Toowoomba, servicing South West Queensland.

2006
2007

A Bell 230 twin engine helicopter is purchased and based at the Toowoomba hangar.

2007
2008

CareFlight’s Air Ambulance adds a Learjet 36A to its fleet.

2008
2009

A second Bell 412 helicopter is purchased to service the South West region.
CareFlight opens its HEMS Academy on the Gold Coast.

2009
2009
2010

RACQ CareFlight Rescue’s Toowoomba-based service becomes a 24/7 operation.

2010
2010
2011

April

The Surat Basin Gas Industry Aeromedical Service (Surat Basin Rotary Wing Aeromedical Evacuation – SBRWAME) is created.

Two additional Bell 412 helicopters are acquired to service the commercial contract.

2011
2011
2013

January

The Curtis Island Rotary Wing Aeromedical Service (CIRWAME) is created.

July

The CareFlight Coordination Centre (C3) expands to manage fleet logistics.

CareFlight Group merges with The Sunshine Coast Helicopter Rescue Service, which began operating in Queensland in 1979.

2013
2013
2013
2014

Rebrand of CareFlight Group QLD to CareFlight Group and CareFlight Medical Services to CareFlight Retrieval Medicine.

2014

October

A Challenger CL-604 jet is purchased to further expand the Air Ambulance fleet.
The first AW139 helicopter is acquired.
Agreement with Thales Australia to provide a Thales NextGen Reality H AW139 Full Flight Simulator is signed.

December

10-year Service Agreement with the Queensland Government is announced.

2014
2014
2015

Secured funding for our doctor service until 2019 with the Queensland Department of Health.

July

CareFlight merges with the Mount Isa-based North Queensland Helicopter Rescue Service (NQ Rescue) and commences service to North West Queensland.

January

A new aeromedical base at Brisbane Airport is launched.

2015
2015
2015
2016

July

Our new name. A new era begins in our proud history, CareFlight will be known as LifeFlight.

December

35th anniversary of LifeFlight (CareFlight). Officially incorporated into a public company on 15th of December.

2016
2016
2017

July

To support the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue service, the LifeFlight Foundation was officially formed and based at Robina, QLD.

2017
2018

June

LifeFlight achieved an incredible milestone, 50,000 lives saved since its first airlift in 1979.

2018

September

The new Clive Berghofer LifeFlight Centre officially opened at Toowoomba Airport.

Clive Berg Centre Toowoomba
2019

June

LifeFlight celebrates 25 years of partnership with naming-rights sponsor, RACQ.

July

LifeFlight reaffirmed its connection with communities across Queensland through the formal establishment of the LifeFlight Regional Advisory Committees.

July

Doctor training week in its entirety took place at LifeFlight Training Academy, for the new recruits joining the LifeFlight Retrieval Medicine team.

August

New contract with Queensland Health commenced for LifeFlight to provide Critical Care Doctors across the State’s aeromedical network.

2019
2019
2019
2019
2019

June

LifeFlight celebrates 25 years of partnership with naming-rights sponsor, RACQ.

July

LifeFlight reaffirmed its connection with communities across Queensland through the formal establishment of the LifeFlight Regional Advisory Committees.

2019
2019
2019

August

New contract with Queensland Health commenced for LifeFlight to provide Critical Care Doctors across the State’s aeromedical network.

2019
2020

February

Further expansion of the Air Ambulance jet fleet with three new Challenger 604 aircraft.

March

New Bundaberg Aeromedical base officially opened, a joint project with Royal Flying Doctors Service (Queensland Section).

DSC02127 Bundy Base Scaled
Community News 2

June

The State Government of Victoria selected StarFlight to meet the requirements of the Victoria Police Aviation Capability Program (ACP), following its decision to acquire three AW139 helicopters for its Air Wing. The contract is being delivered via StarFlight Victoria – a special purpose company – and is a joint venture with Fox Aircraft Services and LifeFlight Australia.

2020
2020
2020

February

Further expansion of the Air Ambulance jet fleet with three new Challenger 604 aircraft.

March

LifeFlight Foundation supports fit-out of jet fleet to combat COVID-19 through a dedicated fundraising appeal which saw over $500,000 raised.

New Bundaberg Aeromedical base officially opened, a joint project with Royal Flying Doctors Service (Queensland Section).

2020
2020

July

State Government of Victoria selected LifeFlight to meet the requirements of the Victoria Police Aviation Capability Program, delivered by our subsidiary StarFlight Victoria and commercial partner Fox Aircraft Services.

2020
2020
previous arrow
next arrow
1981
1987
1989
1992
1993
1994
1995
2001
2004
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2019
2019
2020
2020
2020

The LifeFlight Board brings together respected leaders with a diverse range of medical, aviation, business, financial and philanthropic experience.

LifeFlight partners with many significant commercial and public sector organisations from Australia and across the globe to successfully deliver its world class aeromedical service.

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue is proud to introduce our Regional Advisory Committees – a group of dedicated community leaders who help keep our helicopters and crews in the air.

View our annual report archive.

Latest news

Subscribe for RACQ LifeFlight Rescue updates