New AW119Kx “Koala” Helicopter Now Providing Service From Life Flight Network’s Bases in Pendleton and La Grande, OR

Life Flight Network (LFN), the nation’s largest not-for-profit air medical transport service with headquarters in Aurora, Oregon, announces new AgustaWestland 119Kx “Koala” medical helicopters developed for the company have been placed into service at its Pendleton and La Grande, Oregon bases. These top-of-the-line helicopters provide the fastest air medical transport for critically ill or injured patients in the area and are perfectly suited to meet the area’s unique weather conditions and geographic terrain. The Pendleton and La Grande bases are capable of providing emergency critical care air medical transport throughout most of southern Washington, northern Oregon and western Idaho.

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 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 Oregon, Idaho and Washington. LFN’s Koala helicopters went through extensive testing and a FAA certification process prior to being placed into service.

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
  • A state-of-the art Garmin G1000H avionics package with synthetic vision, enhancing safety and situational awareness
  • Night vision goggles, satellite weather and tracking, and 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 new 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.

LFN provides air and ground critical care transportation for seriously ill or injured patients from the scene of an accident or from one hospital to another. Given the growing need for safe and timely transport, LFN has strategically positioned 15 bases throughout the Northwest and Intermountain West to provide maximum coverage to the communities served.

LFN blazed a new trail of excellence by earning the very first Program of the Year award in the Northwest from the Association of Air Medical Services. The company’s Membership program covers more than 155,000 individuals and 70,000 households. Membership is just $60 per family, per year. Members have no out-of-pocket expenses for emergent, medically-necessary flights. LFN also manages and provides marketing support for 12 FireMed ground ambulance membership programs, including Pendleton Fire and Ambulance, Baker City, La Grande and Wallowa County.

LFN is celebrating 35 years of providing air medical transport excellence in 2013 and is owned by a consortium of four of the nation’s most prestigious health systems, including Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, Oregon Health and Science University and Providence Health System-Oregon.

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