CHI St. Joseph upgrades Air Med 12 fleet with new helicopter

Staff Reports
Posted 10/9/19

Regional hospital CHI St. Joseph health has purchased a twin-engine Airbus helicopter to replace a Bell 407 in the medical center’s Air Med 12 fleet.

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CHI St. Joseph upgrades Air Med 12 fleet with new helicopter

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Regional hospital CHI St. Joseph health has purchased a twin-engine Airbus helicopter to replace a Bell 407 in the medical center’s Air Med 12 fleet.

In a press release last week, CHI St. Joseph said The new helicopter enhances operational capabilities and raises the standard of patient care delivered by Air Med 12, the only air medical service.

“Since 2005, Air Med 12 has provided vital care and transport services to critically-injured patients across the Brazos Valley,” Theron Park, CHI St. Joseph Health President & CEO said in the release. “The Airbus H135 will eventually help our team reach and transport more patients than we ever could before, because of its advanced capabilities.”

The Airbus EC-135 P2+ is a twin-engined, four-bladed rotor helicopter that is used for emergency medical services worldwide. Entering service in 1996, by 2003 the model comprised 25% of worldwide total emergency medic services flights, according to the manufacturer (then known as Eurocopter).

The Bell 407 it replaces is a single-engined, four-blade model.

CHI St. Joseph collaborated with air medical partner PHI Air Medical for the purchase. The hospital declined to say how much the helicopter cost.

According to the hospital, the new aircraft offers a number of features designed to control engine performance, improve flight stability while reducing noise, improving pilot awareness and visibility and providing full training and support to the Air Med 12 team.

“The Airbus H135 will also offer a better overall experience for our patients,” Billy Rice, Director of Air Med 12 said in the release. “It has a high-set main rotor for safer patient loading and a much larger cabin.”

Because the aircraft has a fully-integrated stretcher, Air Med 12 will be able to load and unload patients faster and more efficiently. The team will also have use of the helicopter’s additional room and mounting space to transport advanced hemodynamic support equipment or specialized neonatal transport teams, Rice said.

“This light aircraft is known for its endurance, compact build, low sound levels, reliability and versatility,” Rice said. “It will be a complete game changer for our patients and our team.”

As part of the Air Med 12 team’s transition to the new aircraft, which will occur soon after its delivery, pilots and crew will undergo specialized training in the aircraft systems.

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