Orbis Flying Hospital Upgrades To MD10

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The one-of-a-kind Orbis flying eye hospital will get an upgrade this year, transitioning from a DC-10 to an MD10 donated by FedEx. The flying hospital travels the world to deliver surgical eye care and training to people in poor countries, with a fully equipped surgical suite and staff on board the aircraft. "The new MD10 will have many new advantages," Orbis spokesman Christopher Bogusz told AVweb. The interior will be configured to handle new custom-made modules. "These innovative modules are essentially stand-alone units that can be upgraded, replaced, or easily taken off the aircraft to be modified," Bogusz said. Volunteer pilots from FedEx and United Airlines do the flying.

The MD10 has 50 percent more range, which will reduce fuel stops, saving time and money. It will also require just two pilots, while the old DC-10 needed two pilots and a flight engineer. It should also be cheaper and easier to maintain. Improved technology in the cabin will make it easier for the medical personnel to access information and communicate. Also, more FedEx pilots are available who can fly the MD10. "While we work to finalize the MD10, we will continue to fly our DC-10, which is in great condition," Bogusz said.