Grand Prairie, Texas – American Eurocopter announced today that University of Michigan’s Survival Flight program has ordered three EC155s to upgrade its helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) and replace its current fleet.
“This order demonstrates that the state-of-the-art EC155 is the aircraft of choice for the future of helicopter emergency medical services,” said Marc Paganini, American Eurocopter President and CEO. “The helicopter meets all of the latest safety certification requirements, and with its size, performance and integrated technology, it is a perfect fit for HEMS and demanding critical care missions.” He added, “We are looking forward to a long and successful partnership with Survival Flight.”
Denise Landis, Survival Flight Critical Care Manager, explained that the search for their new helicopters involved input and direction from all of the major stakeholders in their program including the clinical, aviation and administrative teams. “Our program has always been very proactive regarding safety issues and incorporating technology. We were looking for a helicopter that would provide the power, performance and adaptability to take our program into the future, so we knew we needed as much input as possible in order to make the right decision.”
Landis added that the selection process was a very demanding, two-year process that examined aircraft from all of the major manufacturers and the EC155 was selected. “We were looking for the best twin-engine that met our requirements. After a thorough evaluation, we chose the EC155 because it will provide the speed, range, capabilities and usable space that we need.”
The combination of cabin space and performance was really a strong point for the EC155. Not only is Survival Flight one of the top HEMS programs in the country, it is also a teaching institution so the size and flexibility of the EC155 was appealing. “The helicopter will provide the cabin space needed for our specialty care patients not only in terms of the extra equipment, but also the extra medical personal needed for them,” continues Landis.
Hank Miller, Site Manager for Pentastar Aviation, the company that provides management and support the Survival Flight program, said, “We were running into range versus payload issues with our current aircraft and we needed a helicopter that could support our capacity needs and still provide us with the range to reach our service area. We were very impressed with the EC155.”
Survival Flight will be the first HEMS operator in the United States to fly the EC155, but the aircraft has already been proven throughout the world in HEMS missions. “We look forward to upgrading to the EC155,” Landis continued. “It is a well-tested aircraft and it will allow us to be proactive and to continue to enhance our program, our safety initiatives and our service to our patients.”
The Eurocopter EC155 is a multi-purpose helicopter featuring the latest technological and safety innovations including a four-axis autopilot, glass cockpit with integrated flight and display system, and the five-blade Spheriflex main rotor. It is the first aircraft in the world certified with a rotor design in accordance with the new FAR/JAR 29 regulations. The EC155 is powered by two Arriel 2C2 engines with dual-channel FADEC, Vehicle & Engine Management Display (VEMD) with First Limit Indicator (FLI) and the Integrated Flight and Display System that help to decrease pilot workload and increase safety. The aircraft also delivers decreased vibration levels at very high cruise speeds, which provides a very smooth flight for patients and crew.
For more than 25 years, the UMHS Survival Flight program has safely transported critically ill and injured patients of all ages from hospitals and accident sites across the state to the U-M Health System for specialized care, aided in rescue operations and transported harvest teams for organ donations.
U-M Survival Flight provides services to the 48 continental states plus Canada and Mexico, to transport critically ill or injured patients. In addition, Survival Flight supports the University of Michigan Transplant Center’s organ procurement team in its efforts to provide over 400 lifesaving transplants each year. Survival Flight flies over 160,000 miles each year and has flown over 4 million miles in the past 26 years. Since 1983, Survival Flight has flown more than 30,000 patient transports. Its current fleet includes three helicopters and a Cessna Citation Encore CE-560, as well as ground services provided by Huron Valley Ambulance. For more information about t U-M’s Survival Flight, visit the Web site http://www.med.umich.edu/survival_flight/
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 Eurocopter’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. Army’s Light Utility Helicopter program.
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