Follow the hospital with wings on it's sight saving journey:
After 18 years of sterling service our current DC-10 Flying Eye Hospital has reached the end of its lifespan as maintenance and pilots become harder to come by.
The new aircraft will boast many advantages including state of the art technology, reduced operating costs and increased performance.
Follow the new plane through its pioneering design, build and launch as it becomes the next generation Flying Eye Hospital.
Be the first to find out the latest on the new plane and ORBIS's work worldwide:
Our new aircraft has been fitted with its improved engines. FedEx kindly agreed to donate the GE CF6-50 turbofan engines and larger fuel tanks that provide the new Flying Eye Hospital's enhanced flight range and fuel efficiency.
The team are looking forward to putting all three engines through their paces with the plane's first test flight, to be performed by FedEx pilots, Bob Moreau and Eric VanCourt and an FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) representative.
170 EA’s done, 100 to go! EA stands for Engineering Authorisation – this is the name given to the documents used by our engineers to make the modifications necessary to support the new plane’s hospital functions.
There are a whopping 270 in total for this project, and our team is pleased to announce less than 100 remain in progress.
This represents a great milestone for this pioneering project, bringing us closer to plane's launch later this year.
Toilets have arrived! Because the new Flying Eye Hospital was originally a cargo plane it was not fitted with toilets, or a water system - both truly essential components of our new state-of-the-art flying hospital.
The hospital modules underwent endurance testing to ensure they are ready to be loaded onto the new plane.
77 windows have now been installed throughout the body of the new Flying Eye Hospital, allowing natural light to flow through into the hospital modules.
Because it was previously a cargo plane it did not originally have windows. However, natural light has been proven to soothe and calm patients, making it an essential component of the Flying Eye Hospital’s treatment delivery.
The interior of the Flying Eye Hospital modules nears completion as the walls, ceiling and lighting are all fitted. Here you can see MMIC engineers inside the Operating Room, and the view from the L’Occitane Patient Care and Laser Room through to the Operating Room.
It is now time to install the internal hospital equipment, cabinetry and appliances such as the cameras and computers which will make this a state-of the-art teaching facility.
The cutting edge equipment will allow for two-way communication between the Operating Room and the Classroom, meaning trainees can talk directly with the surgeon performing the procedure. A monitor in the Operating Room will allow the surgeon to view what’s being shown in the Classroom and give instructions to make precise adjustments to the pan/tilt/zoom of the image to improve the view for local medical professionals in attendance.
The current DC-10 Flying Eye Hospital meets the new MD-10 aircraft for the first time, as it checks in for maintenance in Victorville, California.
All the modules have now been constructed. Here we see the outside of the modules. The space running down the left side is where the power cables and heating ventilation and air conditioning system will run through-out the modules.
Inside the modules the countertops and cabinets are mocked-up; but the walls, doors, door windows and floor power outlets have been installed.
The bespoke generators, which are used to independently power the plane when in hospital mode, have been built and delivered to MMIC in Vermont.
A specialised ‘Rigid Cargo Barrier’ has been constructed to hold the hospital modules in place behind the classroom at the front of the plane. A door has been incorporated to allow allowing access between the two areas.
Aircraft modifications are progressing onboard the MD-10 aircraft in California. Modifications include strengthening the cargo aircraft to support the hospital modules as well as accept passenger components such as windows, doors, lavatories and seats.
The hospital module manufacturers, MMIC, began by constructing a mock-up of the new plane. Allowing ORBIS staff to ‘tour’ the plane and provide feedback on the design of the future hospital.
Our engineers from MMIC, send key staff to see the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital in action: They travelled to Indonesia and Vietnam giving them direct insight in how to improve the next generation Flying Eye Hospital’s design.
“It’s still a good a hospital, but [the MD-10] is going to be a better hospital in a new aircraft”
– David Covell, Project Engineer on visiting the existing DC-10.
FedEx donate an MD-10 as part of their on-going support of ORBIS. Before work begins to transform this cargo plane into the next generation Flying Eye Hospital, an extensive maintenance check is carried out in Venice, Italy then it is flys to the US where it will be refitted and constructed into a hospital.
Due to the increasing difficulty of sustaining pilots and maintenance for our current, DC-10 Flying Eye Hospital, ORBIS will upgrade to a next generation Flying Eye Hospital!
FedEx will generously donate an MD-10 cargo plane. This new plane boasts a digital cockpit meaning only two pilots are needed to fly the plane, it expands ORBIS’s flight range from 4,000 miles to 6,000 miles, enjoys better fuel efficiency, significantly reducing costs.
The cargo plane has given rise to a pioneering approach to the construction of the hospital component; a modular design which can be loaded onto the plane like cargo containers. This allows a more efficient construction process as easy maintenance and upgrades.