A flying eye care hospital made public relations stops in Ottawa and Toronto this month to spread the word about the unique services it provides. The Orbis MD-10 widebody, which spends most of the year traveling the world, was on the ramp at those airports for VIP tours and to raise money and awareness of the work. Among the fundraisers were “Plane Pull for Sight” events held at Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver in which teams of up to 20 people pulled a FedEx Boeing 757 about 20 feet on the ramp.
It’s all to further the work of Orbis, which is dedicated to promoting eye health all over the world. About 75 percent of eye problems are preventable and the MD-10 carries an expert medical team and a “volunteer faculty” of specialists who train local health officials in eye care so they can help their own communities with vision issues. The aircraft is also equipped to provide sophisticated procedures to people in those communities. The MD-10 is the third Orbis aircraft. It replaced a DC-10 in 2011 that became the longest-serving example of the type. Orbis’s first aircraft in the early 1980s was a DC-8.