It’s unlike any other aircraft in the world.
From the outside, it looks like a typical jumbo jet but peek inside and you’ll see an operating room, state-of-the-art 3D and 4D technology, a laser center and more. The aircraft is home to the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital—the world’s only fully accredited mobile ophthalmic teaching hospital on board a McDonnell Douglas (MD-10) aircraft.
Orbis, an international nonprofit, is on a mission to end avoidable blindness. Founded in 1982, leaders in the medical and aviation industries realized that the high costs of tuition, international travel and expensive accommodations were preventing many physicians in under-resourced countries from participating in overseas training programs. Together, they forged a unique alliance focused on fighting preventable blindness.
“One of our main goals is to build the capacity of local hospitals and ophthalmic teams in under-resourced areas to provide high quality eye care,” said Jennifer Snyder, corporate development officer at Orbis. “We go in and train doctors, nurses, biomedical technicians and community health workers to create a sustainable eye care/medical program, and advocate for the importance of eye health around the world.”
The organization uses a variety of programs, including its unique Flying Eye Hospital, to accomplish its mission. “The Flying Eye Hospital represents about 20% of our work and it gives us an incredible platform. The aircraft not only enables our expert volunteers to train local eye care teams in their own country, but it also serves as a powerful tool for raising awareness and creating change.”
The aircraft is involved with programs on the ground and in the air—which is where Rockwell Collins’ involvement begins. The company provides its ARINCDirectSM communications services for the Flying Eye Hospital’s training and goodwill trips around the world.
The two organizations began working together with Orbis’ acquisition of its new MD-10 aircraft. “We try to use technology as effectively as possible and the MD-10 gives us the ability to do more,” said Jennifer. “We turned to Rockwell Collins’ ARINCDirect for support because it’s known as a leading provider of innovative connectivity services, which makes it an ideal partner.”
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