Life Flight Network (LFN), the nation’s largest not-for-profit air medical transport service with headquarters in Aurora, Oregon, announces one of the first AgustaWestland 119Kx “Koala” medical helicopters developed for the company has been placed into service at its Sandpoint, Idaho base. This top-of-the-line helicopter provides the fastest air medical transport for critically ill or injured patients in the region and is perfectly suited to meet the area’s unique weather conditions and geographic terrain. The Sandpoint base regularly provides emergency critical care air medical transport throughout northern Idaho, eastern Washington and western Montana.
Michael Griffiths, LFN’s CEO states, “Our new Koala helicopters are designed to assist our critical care teams in delivering the highest quality air transport care in the nation. LFN employs Flight Nurses and Flight Paramedics with a minimum of five years’ experience, the highest experience level required in the region. These Koala helicopters provide our teams with the finest suite of mobile critical care medical equipment available and have a spacious medical cabin capable of transporting two critical care team members and two patients with full-body access.”
Acquisition of these state-of-the-art aircraft began in February of 2012, when LFN signed an agreement with AgustaWestland. Prior to deciding on the Koala, LFN conducted substantial research in order to ensure the new platform would meet and exceed the needs of LFN’s Pacific Northwest and Intermountain West service area. A decision was made early in the process to incorporate the high-tech Garmin G1000H avionics package with synthetic vision and satellite weather reporting. These navigation and monitoring systems provide the pilot with greater situational awareness, which is so important with the changing terrain and weather conditions found within Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
LFN’s Koala helicopters went through extensive testing and a FAA certification process prior to being put into service. The first nine helicopters are scheduled to be in service throughout LFN’s service area by the end of July; three more will be in service by the end of the year.
Highlights of LFN’s Koala helicopters and critical care teams:
- Ability to transport a two-person critical care team and two patients with full-body access
- Speeds up to 175 miles per hour
- State-of-the art Garmin G1000H avionics package with synthetic vision, enhancing safety and situational awareness
- Night vision goggles, satellite weather and tracking, and a Helicopter Terrain Avoidance Warning System (HTAWS)
- Appareo video and data cockpit recording system
- A fully-equipped emergency medical cabin, including a LTV 1200 ventilator, blood products, Zoll Propaq MD cardiac monitor and a C-MAC PM video laryngoscope
- Critical care Flight Nurses with a minimum of five years of ICU, ED, and Trauma experience and Flight Paramedics with a minimum of five years of experience
- LFN’s highly-skilled critical care teams have the ability and resources to provide a multitude of essential medical functions during transport of pediatric and adult patients
- 15 bases throughout Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, all dispatched from LFN’s Communications Center in Boise, Idaho
The Koala helicopters will be providing emergency air transport in conjunction with three of LFN’s AW109E “Power” twin-engine helicopters in western Oregon and southwest Washington. The AW109E aircraft have advanced avionics and are capable of flying under Instrument Flight Rules, making them ideally suited to take advantage of LFN’s low-level route structures currently under development.