AgustaWestland announced at the Farnborough Airshow on Thursday that the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance of the UK has selected an AW169 twin-engine light intermediate helicopter to conduct emergency medical services (EMS) missions.
Ontario’s Ornge air ambulance system remains under government scrutiny. In testimony before the Provincial Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee March 6, the then-head of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Chris Lewis, said its anti-rackets branch is expanding its investigation to include interviewing witnesses in the U.S. and Italy and seeking documents from those jurisdictions.
Canadian health and safety investigators charged Ontario’s troubled air ambulance service, Ornge, with 17 violations of the Canadian Labor Code related to the nighttime crash of a Sikorsky S-76A on May 31 last year near its base in rural northern Mosonee that killed its four-man crew. The helicopter went down shortly after takeoff en route to a patient pick-up.
The Avincis group is to purchase Scandinavian Air Ambulance (SAA) for SEK707 million ($108 million). SAA employs 160 and operates a fleet of 22 aircraft (including 14 helicopters) across Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Under the agreement, SAA founder and CEO Henry Hansen will continue to lead SAA and all Avincis’ emergency services in Scandinavia. Regulatory approvals are expected by the end of next month.
Ontario’s provincially operated air ambulance service continues to restructure, eliminating 25 management jobs–including vice president, aviation–adding eight new jobs and reclassifying 15 to save $1 million. Ornge still employs 650.
On February 20, the FAA issued a far-reaching final rule that will require helicopter operators, including air ambulance services, to abide by stricter flight rules and procedures that better prepare both pilots and helicopters for safer operations. Within 60 days, all operators will be required to use enhanced procedures for flying in challenging weather, at night, and when landing in remote locations.
Haiti Air Ambulance is partnering with Air Methods to bring helicopter EMS service to the poverty-stricken nation on a full-time basis for the first time. Beginning next month, two Air Methods Bell 407s–a primary and a dedicated back-up–will be based at a secure industrial park near the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince and will be gearing up to fly two missions a day or about 700 hours per year.
Fresh pressure is being placed on the FAA to revise and finalize its 2010 notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would mandate the installation of helicopter terrain avoidance and warning systems (HTAWS) and radar altimeters on all U.S. emergency medical service (EMS) helicopters. The NPRM drew a firestorm of criticism from affected stakeholders for favoring high-cost solutions over less expensive, and some argued, more effective safety technology such as night-vision goggles (NVGs).
Air Methods, the largest helicopter EMS operator in the U.S., is expanding its international operations, growing its heli-tourism division and has expanded its fixed-wing operations into jet ambulances.
Inaer Spain has won the tender issued by the Emergency Medical Service of Madrid for a four-year air ambulance contract with an option for a two-year extension. For the service, Inaer will operate an AgustaWestland AW109 and a Bell 412EP. It will provide four pilots, four copilots and four technicians. Both the crews and the helicopters will be based at Las Rozas and Lozoyuela heliports.
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