A Robinson R66 is being used in Colombia as a pediatric air ambulance. It is flying alongside a Westwind 1124A and Learjet 31 with Fundacion Cardiovascular de Colombia (FCV).
Doctors at FCV are using the R66 to reach pediatric patients in remote areas. The back seat of the R66 has been replaced with a bench, an incubator and other medical equipment in accordance with FAA “Form 337” rules. A typical flight of one hour replaces a ground ride of four to nine hours, which for some infants was just too long.
Establishment of the program was led by the hospital’s CEO, Dr. Victor Raul Castillo Mantilla, who had been looking at helicopter solutions and previously rejected the idea as too expensive. The launch of the R66 gave him a new option with purchase and operating costs in a range that the hospital was able to consider. The power of the R66 was another key consideration in view of the hospital’s location in Bucaramanga, a city at 3,100 feet elevation in the Colombian Andes.
FCV has conducted more than 50 missions for the pediatric air ambulance program in the last 11 months.