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Orbis Flying Eye Hospital Returns to Oshkosh for AirVenture 2021
November 24, 2020 – The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, which has been saving sight and training eye care professionals in more than 95 countries around the world, will return to the world's largest fly-in convention in 2021 as part of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
The Orbis MD-10 jet aircraft will be part of a salute to humanitarian aviation at the 68th edition of EAA's annual fly-in convention, which runs July 26-August 1 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.
"For more than a century, aviation has created a unique niche that has made the world a better place, whether it's through delivering medical care, fighting fires, or rescuing lost and injured individuals," said Rick Larsen, EAA's vice president of communities and member programming, who coordinates AirVenture features and attractions. "The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital and its dedicated team of volunteer medical personnel has given and returned the gift of sight to thousands of people around the world over the past 40 years. Its return to Oshkosh in 2021 is a most suitable anchor for our salute to humanitarian aviation."
The current Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, a McDonnell Douglas MD-10, was donated to Orbis by FedEx, which had used the airplane as a cargo aircraft. The Orbis team then outfitted the aircraft with a fully accredited ophthalmic teaching hospital, including an operating room, recovery room, classroom, and some of the world's most advanced ophthalmic training equipment. This aircraft, which took its first sight-saving flight in 2016, replaced a DC-10 that Orbis had used since 1994 after beginning its work with a donated Douglas DC-8 in 1982.
The Orbis team travels around the world, working with local hospitals in countries where access to eye care, such as cataract surgery and glaucoma treatment, is often limited or nonexistent. The Orbis team uses the Flying Eye Hospital to train local eye care professionals at each of its stops. Orbis'; telemedicine platform, Cybersight, which has been even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic, provides long-distance mentoring and education to more than 35,000 eye care professionals from more than 200 countries and regions.
"The Orbis story is one of a unique and lasting alliance between aviation and medicine. Our previous trips to Oshkosh allowed us to tell that story to thousands of aviators, many of whom had never heard of our work," said Bruce Johnson, Director of Aircraft Operations at Orbis. "We are eager to return to AirVenture and share the latest developments in our mission."
The Orbis MD-10 aircraft is expected to arrive in Oshkosh the weekend prior to AirVenture and stay throughout the week.