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UChicago Medicine receives new Airbus EC145

27th July 2018 - 11:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The University of Chicago (UChicago) Medicine has received a new Airbus EC145 helicopter to be used for medical transportation, the medical centre announced on 20 July.

The new helicopter will replace the University of Chicago Aeromedical Network (UCAN)’s Dauphin N model helicopter, which has been in use since 1990. This is UChicago Medicine’s fifth helicopter dedicated for medical services.

The new helicopter has been designed to transport patients who require critical medical care, often from community hospitals or from the scene of an accident. The new UCAN helicopter, initially configured to be a corporate aircraft, includes a custom medical interior with advanced cockpit avionics.

With a weight of about 2.5t, the new air ambulance can accommodate three or four medical crew members. The helicopter features larger patient compartment that creates more room for life-saving medical equipment, such as an intra-aortic balloon pump, a special incubator for premature babies, or an extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation machine that supports patients with severe cardiac and respiratory requirements.

The helicopter’s safety features include a digital autopilot, which stabilises the aircraft and reduces pilot workload during flights, night-vision goggles, satellite tracking, collision avoidance systems for air traffic and terrain, weather radar, wire strike cutters. It is fully equipped with instrument flight rule. Measuring around 43ft in length and over 11ft in height, the EC145 helicopter can fly at a speed of 153mph (132kt).

Ira Blumen, MD for UCAN, said: ‘This aircraft makes better use of the internal space. It has a slightly shorter airframe than our previous helicopter, but it loads like an ambulance, from the rear instead of from the side. The wide clamshell rear doors and collapsible, ambulance-style litter make getting a patient in and out of the helicopter quicker and easier.’

The new helicopter is owned and operated by Air Methods.

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