During February, four of LifeFlight’s aircraft engineers completed the Challenger 604 (CL604) engineering type course – the first of its kind in Australia for that aircraft model. Their graduation takes the number of LifeFlight’s licensed CL604 engineers from one to five and increases mechanical and avionic engineering coverage capabilities within LifeFlight.
RACQ LifeFlight Rescue’s air ambulance jet fleet grew by three Challenger 604 aircraft at the beginning of 2020. The organization currently operates four CL604; two in Queensland and two in Singapore. LifeFlight Engineering staff were due to undergo specialized jet maintenance training in Canada last year, with the aircraft manufacturer, but were unable to travel internationally due to Covid-19.
Working with CASA to gain approvals
“To keep the jets ready to respond in the past 12 months, LifeFlight Engineering has engaged external contractors and worked with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to gain approvals for our engineers to conduct limited maintenance,” LifeFlight Engineering Operations Manager, Michael Dopking, said.
With overseas travel still on hold, Australian aviation organizations decided it was time to bring the full type course training down under. The Challenger 604 engineering six-week course, developed by Cobham and approved by CASA, was recently held in Queensland.
Six weeks of training at the Brisbane base
“For a good part of 2020, Cobham Aviation built the Australian course, which meant LifeFlight was able to train up our engineers,” said Dopking. “LifeFlight and Cobham Aviation engineers completed the theory aspect of the training over four weeks in Cairns and two weeks of practical instruction, on our aircraft at the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Brisbane Base.”
Almost 350 people received lifesaving care in Townsville, Australia, thanks to RACQ LifeFlight’s rescue jet crew in 2020 – the most patients in the service’s 12-year history.