Pittsburgh, PA – Since December 2007, West Penn Allegheny Health
System (WPAHS) is flying four brand new EC145s ordered for its Life
Flight AMS program in 2006.
“The new EC145 fleet has exceeded the health system's lofty expectations,” says Catherine Fackovec, WPAHS Director of Operations for Emergency Services. “Since getting our full contingent of EC145s into operation, we have not experienced anywhere near the amount of service downtime that hindered our previous fleet,” says Fackovec.
“The result is that we are flying more missions, and helping more people, than before.” WPAHS flies an estimated 2,500 missions annually. Its helicopters serve as air ambulances, inter hospital transports for patients, and flying intensive care units. As a twin engined medium lift helicopter, the EC145 has the range and ceiling to serve WPAHS’ entire service area, which stretches within a 130 mile radius around Pittsburgh. This helicopter is powered by two Turbomeca ARRIEL engines, and offers high set main and tail rotors for added safety.
EC145s are offered in single pilot IFR and dual pilot IFR configurations, and both options are equipped with the modern MEGHAS glass cockpit and digital autopilot. WPAHS’ four EC145s are single pilot IFR certified, making them flyable in all kinds of weather conditions.
However, it’s the usable space within the EC145’s unobstructed cabin that really sold them on this aircraft. It allows two nurses to work effectively with a patient and equipment inside. “We had flown the Eurocopter BK117 before we moved to the MD 900s,” Fackovec says. “Now we are happy to be back with Eurocopter, and to have chosen the EC145 derived from the BK117 airframe.
We evaluated many aircraft to replace the MD 900s, but the EC145 was our top choice. It is the right aircraft for our missions. It has the right aircraft enhancements, speed, safety, and quiet operation that we were looking for.”