Orbis at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum | Orbis
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Orbis at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum

The iconic Orbis Flying Eye Hospital will bravely go where it has never gone before – to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC as part of a new permanent exhibition highlighting innovations in aviation and their impacts on society.

We're excited to announce the inclusion of artifacts from our second-generation Flying Eye Hospital DC-10 aircraft in a new permanent exhibition which opened on October 14, 2022 at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. An example of humanitarian flight that combines innovations in medicine and aviation, we will be featured in the new "Thomas W. Haas We All Fly" exhibition, which celebrates the breadth and depth of general aviation and its deep impact on society.

Simulator from the second-generation DC-10 aircraft.

The exhibit features a simulator from the Flying Eye Hospital – the world's only fully accredited ophthalmic teaching hospital on board a plane – now currently in its third generation on an MD-10 aircraft. The simulator was used to train eye care professionals on cataract surgery, the leading cause of blindness in the world. In the same way pilots learn to fly planes through simulation, we have adopted simulation training to allow eye care teams to build their skills and confidence safely before progressing to real-life surgeries.

Derek Hodkey

President & CEO of Orbis International

From the ear­li­est days of Orbis, we knew that bring­ing train­ing from the world’s best eye care pro­fes­sion­als direct­ly to the eye care teams who need it most would change the way the world sees. It’s what led to the launch of our Fly­ing Eye Hos­pi­tal exact­ly 40 years ago – mak­ing it an espe­cial­ly fit­ting time to look back on all the progress we’ve made. We are grate­ful to the Nation­al Air and Space Muse­um for shin­ing this impor­tant spot­light on our work.”

Live Event

We will also join the museum's GE Aviation Lecture Series during a live conversation titled "The Flying Eye Hospital: Medicine Meets Aviation" on Thursday, November 17, 2022, at 8 p.m. EST. The event will be held at the museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center and also streamed online. The general public is invited to attend and learn about how aviation is increasing access to eye care in communities around the world.

Dorothy Cochrane

Curator at the National Air and Space Museum

The Orbis Fly­ing Eye Hos­pi­tal is a won­der­ful exam­ple of the use of gen­er­al avi­a­tion for human­i­tar­i­an pur­pos­es, some­thing we want­ed to high­light in the Thomas W Haas We All Fly” gallery. This is tru­ly a unique way of reach­ing peo­ple in need.”

During the conversation, our Vice President of Clinical Services and Technologies, Dr. Hunter Cherwek, and Director of Aircraft Operations and Maintenance, Bruce Johnson, will give an insider's view into what it is like to work on one of the world's most unique aircrafts and what is ahead for our fight against avoidable blindness. The conversation will be moderated by Dorothy Cochrane, Curator of the Aeronautics Department at the Smithsonian Institution. The event is entirely FREE! Click the button below to register.

Register Now for "The Flying Eye Hospital: Medicine Meets Aviation"


40 Years of Innovation

Through innovations like our Flying Eye Hospital, dedicated country programs, and Cybersight, our telemedicine and e-learning platform, we have been able to ensure a brighter tomorrow for millions and change lives in places where quality eye care is still difficult to access.

We believe that the best way to fight avoidable blindness and vision impairment is to share knowledge, skills, and support with eye care teams so they can help patients in their communities. Now we have more ways than ever to achieve this. A huge thank you to all our supporters, partners, and volunteers who have enabled us to fight avoidable blindness with the same innovative spirit we began our work with 40 years ago.

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