North Carolinaâ€™s Pitt County Memorial Hospital today received an EC135 from American Eurocopter in the first step of complete helicopter fleet upgrade for its EastCare air medical service.
EastCare has been an operator of Eurocopter rotary-wing aircraft since the mid-1980s, and will base the new EC135 at Rocky Mount-Wilson Regional Airport.Â This helicopter will be joined in April and May by two EC145s to be delivered by American Eurocopter, which are to be located at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, N.C.
â€œWe are proud that EastCare has selected Eurocopter products to continue its important missions and its legacy of providing safe air medical service to eastern North Carolina,â€ said Marc Paganini, American Eurocopter President and CEO.
Rhonda Reeder, the EastCare transport teamâ€™s administrator, said the EC135/EC145 mix will offer excellent flexibility for its operations â€“ which provide rapid transport and advanced medical care to critically ill pediatric and adult patients.Â EastCare covers a large service area encompassing 29 counties in eastern North Carolina, and which can extend into Virginia.
â€œBoth the EC135 and EC145 provide the right cabin size for our double-patient transport configuration with a full complement of critical-care medical equipment,â€ said Reeder.Â â€œThey also meet our no. 1 goal of safety, with such advanced technologies as night vision goggles, the Terrain Awareness and Warning System, Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System and single-pilot IFR operation.â€
From its base at Rocky Mount-Wilson Regional Airport, the EC135 will provide rapid response times to emergency accident scenes, and its compact footprint enables the helicopter to operate from more constrained landing sites.
EastCareâ€™s two EC145s will provide the additional range for flights across its coverage area without the need for refueling, while retaining the full medical equipment and double-patient airlift capability.
All three helicopters are purchased for the EastCare service, and are to succeed three Eurocopter BK-117s that currently are operated on a lease arrangement and flown by Air Methods.
â€œOur decision to move from lease to the purchase gives us more control over the aircraft, particularly in maintenance and operations,â€ Reeder said.Â â€œThe EC135/EC145 mix is a great choice for us, which was driven by their cabin size, performance and similar features.â€
EastCare is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems, and its fleet of three BK-117s flew more than 2,080 patient flight hours in 2009.
About American Eurocopter
American Eurocopter is a helicopter manufacturer that produces, markets, sells and supports the broadest range of civil and para-public helicopters offered by any manufacturer in the United States. The company is a subsidiary of EADS North America Holdings, the North American operations of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services, and is an affiliate of Eurocopter, the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world. American Eurocopterâ€™s product line represents the most cost-effective, technologically-advanced helicopters, ranging from light single to heavy twin, serving all markets and missions. Company headquarters and main facilities are located in Grand Prairie, TX, with a large manufacturing and production facility in Columbus, MS, that produces the UH-72A for the U.S. Armyâ€™s Light Utility Helicopter program.
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