STARS Air Ambulance, an Airbus operator for more than 35 years, is the first customer in North America to operate the new five-bladed H145 following the acceptance of their new helicopter today in Fort Erie, Ontario. This latest version of the H145 family is their sixth delivery in the company’s fleet renewal plan and the first five-bladed version to join the fleet. All remaining deliveries will consist of the new five-bladed H145 model and STARS has confirmed it will retrofit its initial five aircraft.
“By renewing our fleet with the H145, we deliver on our commitment to continually enhance the emergency care services we provide, as each life we save makes a huge difference in someone’s family, someone’s community,” said Andrea Robertson, CEO of STARS. “We are thrilled to now be introducing the five-bladed variant, and extend a warm thank you to the Airbus teams for their longstanding support of our critical missions here in Canada.”
STARS, a physician driven non-profit helicopter air ambulance organization, operates the H145 helicopters fitted with helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) interiors to provide safe, rapid, highly specialized emergency medical transport to patients in need across Western Canada.
The H145 was chosen after an independent review indicated the necessity for STARS to operate a unified, single-model helicopter fleet. In 2018, STARS published their fleet renewal plan for a total of nine H145 helicopters, the first of which was delivered in 2019. STARS recently increased their total order to 10 H145 helicopters.
“I remember when I first came to know STARS operating their BK117s, the predecessor to the H145, some of which we continue to support today, and it’s very special to me to see them taking delivery of the first five-bladed variant in North America, which will provide them with an even better tool to carry out the incredibly important, time-sensitive work they do saving lives every day,” said Romain Trapp, president of the North America region for Airbus Helicopters. “Airbus is proud to continue our support of their fleet renewal process, and we sincerely thank STARS for the trust they’ve placed in Airbus for more than 35 years, that continues today.”
This latest upgrade of the multi-mission H145 family adds a new, innovative five-bladed rotor system, increasing the useful load of the helicopter by 330 lbs. (150 kg), simplifying maintenance operations, and improving ride comfort for both passengers and crew. Powered by two Safran Arriel 2E engines, the H145 is equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC) and Airbus’s own Helionix digital avionics suite, increasing safety and reducing pilot workload.
Airbus Helicopters is a leading supplier of helicopters in Canada and has been a proud member of the country’s aerospace community since 1984. Airbus Helicopters Canada has a 24/7 coast to coast network in place to support an in-service fleet of more than 760 helicopters nationwide. Across all its divisions – Helicopters, Commercial Aircraft, and Defence and Space – Airbus currently employs close to 4,000 people in Canada supporting aerospace throughout the country.