This week marked the start of construction on a new world-class aviation training facility in Bundaberg, which will house the only Beechcraft King Air Pro Line Fusion Full-Flight Simulator in Australia.
Representatives from the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS), QCoal Foundation, Australian Government and Bundaberg Regional Council gathered on site to celebrate ground being broken on the development, following Bundaberg-based Murchie Constructions being awarded with the contract to build the facility.
Once built, RFDS pilots from across Queensland will spend at least two weeks at the training facility each year, while non-RFDS pilots will also be able to use the simulator for their endorsements or recurrent training for King Air aircraft.
The RFDS Aviation Training Facility is expected to be completed and ready for training by the end of 2023.
The $25.3 million facility is jointly funded, with $14.9 million from the Australian Government and $3 million from QCoal Foundation.
The land for the facility has been donated by Bundaberg Regional Council and the build will be undertaken by Murchie Constructions.
RFDS will fund the remainder of the project through fundraising.
Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey said Council was pleased to support the new RFDS Aviation Training Facility through the donation of land adjoining its aeromedical base.
“It’s an incredible boon for Bundaberg to be chosen as the location for this new flight simulator which will be the first of its kind to be constructed in Australia,” he said.
“It’s going to create jobs here locally during construction and will attract at least 81 pilots every year to come here for a minimum of two weeks to do their training and get a taste of our beautiful region.”
Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King said the critical project would provide many benefits.
“This will support the essential medical services of the RFDS by providing a world-class facility for training their pilots,” she said.
“It will also deliver a broader economic boost to Bundaberg and surrounds by supporting local jobs and attracting these pilots to visit, stay and shop in the region, while strengthening our domestic medical aviation capacity.”
RFDS (Queensland Section) Chief Executive Officer Meredith Staib said the sod turning event was an important milestone for the Flying Doctor.
“I’m incredibly excited to see work commence on our new Aviation Training Facility which will help support the ongoing training of our highly skilled pilots, as well as pilots from across Australia and Asia,” she said.
“This purpose-built facility will play a vital role as we head towards 100 years of the Flying Doctor, with innovative aviation and training technology on our doorstep helping to ensure the continuity of world-class training for our pilots and crew – allowing them to continue to provide the finest care to patients right across Queensland.
“This new facility simply wouldn’t be possible without the support of our long-standing partners QCoal Foundation, as well as the Australian Government and Bundaberg Regional Council – we’re enormously thankful for their support.”
QCoal Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sylvia Bhatia said the organisation recognised the significant value of the project for the RFDS and also for the Bundaberg Region.