3-Dec-2020 Source: Air Methods
Air Methods, a leading air medical service in the U.S., announced today that it has donated an Airbus AS350B2 helicopter to southern Africa-based humanitarian relief organization, Mercy Air Africa. The nonprofit was founded in 1991 to provide private flight support for nongovernmental organizations serving in the southern region of Africa. Matthias Reuter, Director of Mercy Air Helicopter Operations, visited Air Methods headquarters in Denver, Colorado last month to finalize and discuss the donation with Air Methods EVP of Operations Leo Morrissette.
“Private flight operations increase the effectiveness, economy, and impact of relief efforts,” said Morrissette. “Many service locations require long hours or days of travel by four-wheel drive vehicles or canoes in inhospitable conditions. Helicopters reduce travel time to mere minutes, significantly increasing service time for volunteers and transport capacity for essential supplies such as medicine, agricultural supplies, and emergency rations.”
Mercy Air supports various relief programs including healthcare, education, agriculture, and disaster response. These efforts provide indigenous populations the skills and resources needed to lead more independent, productive lives rather than perpetuate dependence on international aid.
Using lightweight high-performance airplanes and helicopters, Mercy Air delivers assistance in a challenging operational environment where great distances, limited infrastructure, and difficult topography make access to rural populations inefficient or infeasible via other means of transport.
The principal region of operation includes the African nations of: Eswatini, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Zambia, Angola, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Service into Kenya, Tanzania, and even Madagascar can be coordinated on an ad hoc basis. Volunteer teams across the region include pilots, mechanics, flight-assistants, physicians, nurses, dentists, agronomists, educators, tradesmen, business executives, and administrators, who use their skills to help those in need.
Air Methods AS350B2
The Airbus AS350B2 helicopter donated by Air Methods will undergo extensive upgrades, including avionics and airframe modifications to enhance performance, passenger capacity, sling load, and safety. The work will be performed over several months by Mercy Air associates at MMS Aviation, a peer nonprofit mission aviation maintenance service and training organization located at Coshocton Richard Downing Airport (I40) in Coshocton, Ohio. Marking the third such collaboration, MMS Aviation provides hangar space, equipment, and technical assistance to Mercy Air free of charge.
After reconfiguration, the helicopter will be transported to southern Africa for immediate service in humanitarian aid programs, relief flight operations, and disaster response in areas targeted for expanded service with partner organizations.
“It is with the help of companies like Air Methods and others in the helicopter industry that Mercy Air is able to remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting isolated communities in southern Africa,” said Reuter. “We could not be more grateful for the generous donation of this aircraft to our fleet.”
About Air Methods
Air Methods (www.airmethods.com) is the leading air medical service, delivering lifesaving care to more than 70,000 people every year. With nearly 40 years of air medical experience, Air Methods is the preferred partner for hospitals and one of the largest community-based providers of air medical services. United Rotorcraft is the Company’s products division, specializing in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology. Air Methods’ fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features more than 450 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.
About Mercy Air (Africa)
Mercy Air (Africa) is a nonprofit humanitarian relief organization founded in 1991 in the United States to provide private flight support for nongovernmental organizations serving in southern Africa. The organization now includes collaborating nonprofit entities in the United States 501(c)(3), South Africa, Switzerland, Sweden, and Germany. Foundation Mercy Air Switzerland (www.mercyair.ch) is responsible for Mercy Air Africa helicopter programs and Mercy Air Helicopter Inc. is the helicopter operator. Mercy Air uses lightweight high-performance airplanes and helicopters to deliver assistance in a challenging operational environment where great distances, limited infrastructure, and difficult topography make access to rural populations inefficient or infeasible via other means of transport.