New helicopter was activated for a patient transport within first hour of service.
Life Flight Network (LFN), the nation’s largest not-for-profit air medical transport service with headquarters in Aurora, Oregon, announced the first of a total of 15 AgustaWestland 119Kx (Koala) medical helicopters being manufactured for the company was put into service on Friday at its Pocatello, Idaho base. An activation call for emergency air transport was requested within an hour of the aircraft being placed into service. The LFN flight crew provided rapid critical care transport from the scene to Magic Valley Medical Center in Twin Falls, Idaho.
The acquisition of these state-of-the-art aircraft was initiated 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 capabilities provide the pilot with greater situational awareness, so important with the changing terrain and weather conditions found within Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Michael Griffiths, LFN’s CEO states, “Our new AW119Kx helicopters are designed to ensure our critical care teams deliver the highest quality pre-hospital care in the nation. We’re providing helicopters with a spacious patient cabin and the finest suite of mobile critical care medical equipment available. The Koala helicopters offer the important benefit of transporting two critical care team members and two patients with full-body access.” LFN’s AW119Kx helicopters went through an extensive testing and FAA airworthiness certification process prior to leaving the manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania and a FAA conformity inspection just prior to being put 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
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.
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 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.