The teaching hospital will be easy to spot, proudly parked at AirVenture’s Boeing Plaza at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Orbis had to make the decision to park the MD–10 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the doctors and volunteers didn’t stop their critical work. Since the cargo hauler couldn’t take medical professionals, portable hospitals, and supplies around the world, Orbis said it launched the virtual Flying Eye Hospital to continue training medical professionals to combat avoidable blindness. According to Orbis, one in seven people globally have blindness or visual impairments that can be avoided. Eye care professionals from Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Ghana, Cameroon, Zambia, Ethiopia, India, and Mongolia participated in virtual training courses covering topics such as glaucoma, diabetes-related eye diseases, and cataracts.
Orbis has been operating the Flying Eye Hospital worldwide for almost 40 years. It operated a DC–10-10 that it retired and donated to the Pima Air and Space Museum in Arizona in 2016. The current Flying Eye Hospital is a MD–10-30 that FedEx donated in 2010. While the hospital was built into the first aircraft, the current MD–10 features sections of the hospital built in cargo containers that can be removed from the aircraft. (Read more about the Flying Eye Hospital in the February 2019 AOPA article, “One Glorious Vision.”)
The MD–10 will be at AirVenture for the duration, but AOPA members can skip the long lines by taking the free tour Thursday evening. AOPA members are requested to present their membership card or print and take this article to show.
Orbis asks that everyone touring the Flying Eye Hospital practice social distancing and wear face masks when inside the aircraft, whether vaccinated or not.