We recently had an opportunity to see and tour the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital.
How is this one of our favorite airplanes?
It’s not exactly an antique airplane…
…though this aircraft type is nearly obsolete….
I mean how may DC-10s have you seen flying lately?
And then you might say…
...yea... it's a DC-10..
...what’s all this about an MD-10?
What is that anyway?
The latest aircraft that serves as the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital was donated to Orbis by FedEx.
FedEx converted its DC-10s to MD-10s… upgrading the flight deck to more modern equipment that requires only two pilots.
That makes this more efficient.
The entire aircraft is a marvel.
This is the third aircraft that Orbis has used since they began in 1980. They were able to take advantage of the cargo doors, and they installed the hospital in modules. The hospital is an accredited U.S. hospital.
Since the hospital modules are “cargo”, they don’t have to worry about them for airworthiness approvals.
Orbis uses the class room and the internet to teach opthamologists around the world. That is the main aim of the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital… not so much to perform eye surgeries… but to perform them to teach others.
They travel with their own aircraft mechanics.
The hospital also has its own water treatment plant and air conditioning systems.
It carries its own generators which run off of jet fuel. (When it is parked you can see the generators with lines running up to the right side.)
They have a staff of doctors and nurses that are with the aircraft all of the time (except when they return to countries for follow-ups).
Any organization like this needs lots of volunteers too. How about the pilots!
Fed Ex still flies this type of aircraft… so volunteer FedEx pilots, currently fly Orbis' aircraft.
The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital plans their stops a year in advance. The plane typically stays in one destination for about three weeks. The pilots use their vacation time to fly the plane from place to place.
In 1980, they started with a DC-8 donated by United Airlines. In 1992 this was replaced with a DC-10-10. The current plane came online in 2016.
That previous DC-10-10 has since been donated to the Pima Air & Space Museum.
The DC-8 was donated to Datangshan Museum near Beijing, China.
It’s not just a favorite airplane. Orbis is a favorite charity. If this sounds like something you’d like to support, they’d love to hear from you…. just go to their website…. orbis.org
You can learn more about what they do there too... We love what they do, but here, we wanted to tell you more about that amazing airplane.
Find 'em, See 'em, Fly,'em! And have a great flight!
Judy and Mark
Curious about what other antique airplanes we've found? Search for more...
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Our 2021 airplane fun was confined to domestic travels. But plenty of airplanes fly close to home.
Nothing pretentious, just cool old (pre-WWII) aircraft and most of them fly!
Our 2020 airplane fun was confined to Guyana and French Guiana. And the skies at home due to that darned COVID virus!