Metro Aviation continues to gain EMS helicopter market share with its Airbus Helicopters EC145e program. This month, Metro won a tender to supply Madison, Wisconsin-based UW Health Med Flight with three of the Airbus medium twins and also secured an order for one by HealthNet Aeromedical Services in Charleston, West Virginia. Metro will replace Air Methods as the supplier of helicopters and crews for the UW contract, effective in May.
The UW program currently operates a pair of EC135s from bases in Madison and Mineral Point, Wisconsin. The additional helicopter will allow it to open a third base north of Madison at Divine Savior Healthcare in Portage, Wisconsin, and extend its reach into the northern/north central Wisconsin. The state currently hosts only two Level 1 Trauma centers—one at UW Health in Madison and the other in Milwaukee. UW said it opted for the EC145e in part due to its longer range and larger cabin.
In West Virginia, HealthNet’s IFR-capable EC145e will be delivered in the summer of 2020 and replace an EC135 based in Charleston. HealthNet currently operates one EC145, five EC135s, and six EC130s. Its new EC145e will be equipped with a Metro-supplied EMS interior and the Outerlink IRIS system that enables 10-second tracking backfilled to the second for more accurate billable mileage capture, live aircraft data reporting, and live EKG data transmissions. Metro currently operates 140 aircraft for 35 air ambulance programs in the U.S.
Separately, Metro and FlightSafety International marked five years of partnership at the Metro Aviation Training Center in Shreveport, which is equipped with EC135 and EC145 level-D simulators used by Metro to qualify and train its pilots and by FlightSafety to serve other operators.“This is the first time FlightSafety International has partnered with an operator on this type of venture, and I have always appreciated the fact that they joined forces with us to bring full motion level-D simulators to our industry that did not previously exist,” said Metro CEO Mike Stanberry.
According to Stanberry, Metro was the first air medical operator to equip its entire fleet with night-vision goggles, the first to require that all of its pilots are IFR current and qualified, and also the first to use simulators as part of its training curriculum.