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First mission for LifeFlight’s newest AW139

The Sunshine Coast’s new ‘Don Moffatt’ RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter has flown its first mission overnight.

LifeFlight’s Sunshine Coast based Augusta Westland AW139 was tasked to airlift a 49-year-old woman from Gladstone Hospital to Nambour General Hospital at 6.24pm Friday evening.

The patient was transported in a stable condition with a total flight time of 3.5 hours.

On February 17, LifeFlight farewelled former board member Don Moffatt at a private function at the Maroochydore hangar, and announced the new AW139 helicopter would bear Mr Moffatt’s name on the side of the aircraft.

It is the third AW139 introduced into LifeFlight’s fleet in the past year as part of its fleet renewal strategy.

The helicopter (which was manufactured in Italy) was assembled by LifeFlight’s engineering team in Archerfield, a job that took a team of four engineers 112 hours, making LifeFlight the only operator is Australia to ever reassemble their own aircraft.

The Emergency Medical Service (EMS) fitout was completed last year by Caloundra company HeliMods.

LifeFlight General Manager Operations, Brian Guthrie, said the faster, high-tech helicopters created real lifesaving benefits for the Queensland community with their speed and efficiency along with the capacity to deliver world class air medical patient care.

“The 139 is a faster aircraft which means we can get to our patients quicker and transport them to advanced specialist care quicker," said Mr Guthrie.  

"With a sophisticated Emergency Medical Service (EMS) fitout, patients will also receive better medical care from our expert medical crew while they’re in the air."

This new addition to LifeFlight's fleet will allow for even more lifesaving missions in the Sunshine and surrounds, with advanced features including the ability to fly up to 270 kph, airlift up to 2,200 kg and allow critical care rescue crews to perform winch missions.

The EMS fitout of the AW139s was made possible by the incredible generosity of RACQ LifeFlight’s supporters and donors who helped fundraise much of the money.