Flying Doctor Pilgrimage visits Home of Aviation

More than 25 antique planes will touch down at Australia’s home of aviation this weekend – celebrating 90 years of the flying doctor.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service’s (RFDS) 90th Air Pilgrimage will spend three days in Longreach, one of nine locations the planes are visiting during their journey, which ends in Mount Isa on Thursday (May 17).

The aircraft, from the Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia, date back to the 1930s.


Queensland Airports Limited, the operator of Longreach and Mount Isa airports, is supporting the pilgrimage and will host a community open day on Sunday.

Longreach and Mount Isa airports spokesman Kevin Gill says the pilgrimage highlighted the long history of the flying doctor and its importance to regional and remote communities.

“We welcome these pilots and their historic planes. RFDS is a crucial service for regional Queensland and we have RFDS bases at both Longreach and Mount Isa for outback Queensland. It is a rare opportunity for the community to see these rare antique planes and we hope they take advantage of it. Longreach has a long aviation history and the community is very proud of that, so it is great to give people the opportunity to be part of the pilgrimage.”

The planes will arrive in Longreach between 10am and 2pm tomorrow (Saturday, May 12) and the public viewing will take place at 3pm-4pm on Sunday, at the airport. The pilgrimage will stop in Winton, Cloncurry and Julia Creek before its final leg to Mount Isa.

The RFDS services some 7.6 million square kilometers and during the past year has flown 24.6 million kilometers to help close to 339,000 people – the equivalent of one every two minutes.