The new EMS helicopter that is being used on the island of Gotland has been partly halted due to its limited payload acceptance. Representatives have told Swedish Radio (SR) that the new Bell 429 has been reduced to covering only local EMS missions, and that the inter-hospital transports between the island and the mainland have to be solved by other air ambulance units. The operations will return to normal, on a temporary basis, once the previous EMS helicopter, an EC145, has returned to the island. The customer, Region Gotland, and the operator will now start to administer the questions surrounding the weight issues.
The modern Bell 429 is currently limited to a maximum certified takeoff weight of 3175 kg (7000 lb), which is its original weight limit. A total of 17 countries worldwide have approved a weight exemption for the 429, which boosts the MTOW by some ~230 kg, to 3402 kg (7500 lb). The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has not approved the increased gross weight, and neither has the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Some of the countries that have accepted Bell Helicopter’s request include Canada, Brazil, New Zealand, India, China, Mexico and Nigeria.
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