PilatusBuilding on the position established by the turboprop PC-12—a popular platform for air-ambulance operators—Pilatus designed its PC-24 jet with aeromedical applications in mind. The first PC-24 in an air-ambulance configuration was delivered to the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia in November 2018.The RFDS is using it for longer-distance and time-critical missions alongside its fleet of more than 30 PC-12s. Sweden’s KSA (Kommunalförbundet Svenskt Ambulansflyg) became the second public-sector customer for the PC-24 ambulance variant when it signed a contract for six last summer. Deliveries are expected next year.
Gulfstream 550 Enters Fourth Year With Beijing 999
GulfstreamBeijing’s integrated 999 Emergency Rescue Center took delivery of China’s first fixed-wing air ambulance in November 2016, when it acquired a Dassault Falcon 2000LX. The following March, the service added a G550 that had been specially modified in the U.S by Gulfstream with a medical suite designed by American company Lifeport Inc. in collaboration with the customer. The on-board equipment includes a medical bay, hospital beds with inboard tracking capabilities, refrigerated medical storage cabinets and X-ray viewing equipment.
Redstar Aviation Conducts Medevac Mission In Yemen
RedstarTurkish air-ambulance provider Redstar is having a busy pandemic period. In mid-April, the Learjet 45XR operator flew a COVID-19 patient from Aden, Yemen, to Europe. Any kind of flying in the war-torn country is particularly challenging, the company says, noting the difficulties inherent in VFR-only operations are compounded by a lack of ground assets and the intricacies of obtaining permits. On May 18, Redstar announced its three XRs had logged 10,000 hr. of operations in five years.
Jetflite Converts Challenger 650 For Coronavirus
JetfliteA Bombardier Challenger 650 was pressed into counter-COVID ambulance service by Finnish operator Jetflite, and proved its value within weeks. The company had intended to operate the jet in an executive configuration for Finnish company Wihuri Group following its delivery on March 26, but Jetflite converted the 650 to accommodate two stretchers, a portable isolation unit, a COVID-19 test kit, and personal protective equipment for crew and an on-board medical team. The aircraft flew 100 hr. in its first 14 days as an ambulance.Jetflite
Flying Colours Modifies Challengers For Swiss Air-Rescue Rega
Flying ColoursJetflite’s experience with the Bombardier Challenger 650 only confirms an existing trend. In December 2018, Flying Colours Corp. of Peterborough, Ontario, wrapped up a contract with Swiss Air-Rescue Rega when the completions house delivered the third 650 in a bespoke ambulance configuration the company designed in conjunction with medical equipment specialist Aerolite and Bombardier’s Specialized Aircraft Div. The aircraft roles an be switched between a flying intensive-care facility for two patients and medical transport for four patients.
HondaJet Flies Air-Ambulance Flights In Hawaii
HondajetThe first HondaJet operator to take delivery of an air-ambulance variant, Wing Spirit, has put its aircraft at the disposal of local communities in its Hawaii home territory. The company, headquartered in Oahu, will be picking up the tab for the April flights, expected to be around $1 million. Outbound flights between islands are covered by insurance, but return flights are not. Wing Spirit will provide those for free. Although the offer was in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the flights are not only for virus patients. The intent is to ensure hospital beds are kept available across the islands.
Babcock Has Latitude in Norwegian Air-Ambulance Deal
TextronA striking yellow livery is not the only distinguishing characteristic of the Citation Latitude delivered by Textron to Babcock’s Scandinavian AirAmbulance division. The jet, which appeared in the static display at EBACE last year, has a two-bed air-ambulance configuration with a number of design features reflecting Textron’s decision to build special-missions capabilities into its aircraft from the drawing-board stage. The aircraft complements a fleet of 10 Beech King Air B250s that Babcock is using to satisfy a Norwegian government requirement for fixed-wing air-ambulance services. The six-year contract began on July 1, 2019.
FAI Switches To Long-Distance Flying
FAINormal business for the Nuremberg, Germany-based FAI air-ambulance division involves relatively short-distance flights around Europe, mixed with occasional trips to the Middle East. This work had been carried out mostly by the company’s Learjets. But after the COVID-19 pandemic struck, operations shifted, so longer-range flights now predominate as the positioning of spares or maintenance crews for Learjets became impossible. As a result, the company now is operating only a single Learjet 60, while four of its five Bombardier Challenger 604s are in constant aeromed use, as is one of the OEM’s Global Express air ambulances.FAI
RUAG Modifies Swiss Air Force EC 635
RUAGTaking an in-service airframe and COVID-proofing it is no easy task, but RUAG MRO Switzerland was able to complete modifications for two Swiss Air Force EC 635 helicopters within a matter of days and make them available for coronavirus support missions. The work involved separating the cockpit from the cabin, devising a disinfection plan for the aircraft and ensuring medical devices were shielded from possible interference while on board.
Rostec Offers COVID Mod For Ansat
Russian HelicoptersAround 30 air-ambulance variants of the Kazan Ansat helicopter are in service with Russian regional operators. Earlier this month, the Rostec State Corp.’s Russian Helicopters announced it had reached agreement with Rosaviatsiya, the country’s air-transport agency, to install onboard isolation units to enable transportation of COVID-positive patients. The light-twin helicopter has been available in air-ambulance variants since 2015.
These operators and aircraft showcase the breadth of today’s air-ambulance industry.