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Aircraft of the Month: ORBIS DC-10-10

Pull for Sight VancouverThe ORBIS DC-10-10 aircraft is a Flying Eye Hospital (FEH), the world’s only airborne ophthalmic training facility, operated by ORBIS, an international humanitarian organization that works to save sight worldwide. The FEH serves as a focal point for educational programs and advocacy efforts. Onboard, eye care professionals from developing nations work side-by-side with the international ORBIS medical team to perform surgery, learn new skills and restore sight.

While this plane’s exterior is virtually identical to others in its category, the interior is like no other aircraft in the world. The FEH has an operating room, 48-seat classroom, audiovisual studio, communications centre and areas for laser surgery, patient recovery and instrument sterilization. To ensure that the FEH has accessible pure water anywhere in the world, a five-step filtration system is onboard for surgical use. The filtration process involves eight regular filters, plus two ultraviolet lights to kill certain microbes and two chemical compounds. Surgeries are only conducted while the aircraft is parked and set up as a hospital to ensure the safety of the patient.

Operators: ORBIS
Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas
Country: U.S.
First flight: May 7, 1994
Cockpit crew: Three
Fuselage length: 51.97 m (170 ft 6 in)
Height: 17.7 m (58 ft 1 in)
Wingspan: 47.34 m (155 ft 4 in)
Fuselage width: 6.02 m (19 ft 9 in)
Fuselage height: 6.02 m (19 ft 9 in)
Operating empty weight: 108,940 kg (240,171 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 195,045 kg (430,000 lb)
Cruise speed: Mach 0.82 (908 km/h, 564 mph, 490 kt)
Max. speed: Mach 0.88 (982 km/h, 610 mph, 530 kt)
Range (fully loaded): 6,116 km (3,800 mi)
Max. fuel capacity: 82,134 L (21,700 U.S. gal)
Service ceiling: 12,802 m (42,000 ft)
Engine (3x): GE CF6-6d1a
Engine thrust (3x): 177.9 kN (40,000 lbf)

Did You Know? The ORSBIS DC-10-10 operating room must be positioned in the centre of the aircraft because the area between the wings of the aircraft, where the main landing gear is located, is the most stable part of the aircraft. This allows surgeons to perform operations on the ground in any type of weather.

The YVR Connection: Every year, ORBIS hosts its popular Pull For Sight fundraiser at YVR and Toronto’s Pearson Airport. The event is a fun team competition to see which group can pull a 757 cargo airplane the fastest. Teams of up to 25 compete to win by pulling the aircraft 12 feet in the shortest amount of time. Funds raised go toward the ORBIS Kids Sight Centre Program, an initiative aimed at eliminating childhood blindness throughout the developing world.



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