The Flying Doctor Service

First Flying Doctor aircraft

The October 1918 issue of 'The Inlander' published a letter from Lieutenant J Clifford Peel of the Australian Flying Corps, proposing an air service by the Australian Inland Mission to care for the sick and injured in the outback.
Peel was killed in action and Reverend John Flynn developed the young airman's ideas, founding what became known as the Flying Doctor Service and devoting his life to what he called "a mantle of safety" over the outback.

The Australian Aerial Medical Service was formed on 27 March 1928, with its first base at Cloncurry. Qantas signed a years contract to operate medical flights on demand. A four-passenger DH50A, together with equipment and staff, was leased at a charge of two shillings (40 cents) per mile (1.6km).

Arthur Affleck was the first pilot permanently attached to medical flying, while the doctor was a Sydney surgeon named K St Vincent Welch. The first flight of the new service was from Cloncurry on 17 May 1928. During the next year the two men served an area larger than Great Britain, flying more than 28,000km to treat 255 patients. In 1942 the name was changed to the Flying Doctor Service, in 1949 its operations were transferred to Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA), and in 1954 it was given a Royal Charter.