The Pilatus PC-12 turboprop single is gaining ground as a cost-effective alternative to helicopter air ambulances.
Nextant Aerospace announced its first special-mission configuration for its 400XT–an air ambulance interior conversion from Spectrum Aeromed–yesterday at ABACE. The $100,000 self-contained equipment package will enable operators to convert the jet’s interior from a VIP configuration to a critical-care environment, including advanced cardiac life support, in less than 30 minutes. Nextant also plans to develop more special-mission applications for the 400XT.
India’s yet-to-take off helicopter emergency medical services program (HEMS) received a boost earlier this year with a firm contract for seven Eurocopter EC135s by Bangalore-based Aviators Ltd. signed in the presence of visiting French president François Hollande.
Canadian air ambulance operator Ornge, a not-for-profit organization, has introduced a new interior for its AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters that allows paramedics to perform CPR “at any time during flight, reduces the risk of tubes snagging on equipment and gives better access to the patient and medical bags and supplies.”
A Europe-wide proposed regulation, combined with a lack of response from national authorities, will have a serious impact on the financial viability of helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) in France, according to Union Française de l’Hélicoptère (UFH). The lobbying association warns that the likely requirement for a second flight crewmember would create a costly burden and do nothing to benefit the missions French HEMS operators are allowed to perform.
At the request of Congress, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s inspector general’s (IG) office has launched an audit into FAA efforts to improve the safety of helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) operations. The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking in 2009–but never a final rule–to address HEMS safety concerns and the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 requires that the FAA take specific actions to improve HEMS safety, including promotion of the use of night-vision goggles.
Air Methods, the nation’s largest air ambulance provider, ended last year by placing orders for 42 new helicopters, including 20 Bell 407GX singles and 22 Eurocopters (10 EC130T2 and six AS350B3e light singles, and six EC135P2e light twins). All of the helicopters ordered are recently upgraded and improved editions of legacy models and feature new avionics and/or enhanced performance. The Eurocopter order is valued at more than $80 million. Deliveries are scheduled for 2014 and 2015.
The man charged with overseeing the investigation into patient deaths at Ontario’s provincially funded air ambulance service was named its new CEO yesterday. Ontario coroner Andrew McCallum, M.D., a certified private pilot, former Canadian Forces flight surgeon and emergency medicine specialist, will take over the troubled air ambulance service in January.
Royal Jet will celebrate its tenth anniversary next May, and the company is reporting significant growth and its busiest year so far. Last year Royal Jet operated 3,135 flights to 370 cities in 136 countries, and this year already is set to exceed this figure. Revenues in the first quarter of 2012 were up 15 percent, while the company’s summer performance saw a 19-percent increase in flying hours over the same period in 2011.
Ontario’s troubled air ambulance provider, Ornge, has been approved for patient transport to and from the U.S. after successful completion of an FAA review process. “The hard work, dedication and know-how of our entire aviation team has paid off with a successful application to fly Ornge helicopters to the U.S.” said Ron McKerlie, interim CEO of Ornge. “While helicopter patient transports to the U.S.