LIFE FORCE holds dedication ceremony for new aircraft

In partnership with Med-Trans Corporation, LIFE FORCE Air Medical hosted a ceremony on Tuesday to dedicate its new EC145e aircraft for service in the region, replacing the existing LIFE FORCE 1 aircraft based in Cleveland, Tenn.

The new EC145e aircraft, manufactured by Airbus Helicopters and completed by Metro Aviation, will allow LIFE FORCE the ability to fly greater distances and carry additional clinicians and equipment.

“Prior to the pandemic and certainly during it, we recognized a need in our patient populations to have the ability to transport critical care patients requiring more specialized equipment and additional personnel,” said LIFE FORCE Senior Director Robbie Tester. “Our neonatal transport teams routinely require three specialized clinicians to safely move our smallest patients.”

In addition, LIFE FORCE will now have the ability to provide air transport to patients in need of ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) as well as balloon pumps for patients who require cardiovascular support.

The new aircraft’s avionics are state-of-the-art, far exceeding all the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety recommendations for Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) operations. This equipment includes a 3-axis auto pilot, moving map display, terrain/traffic avoidance system, color weather radar, and the ability to operate single-pilot IFR (via instrument flight rules).

In long-standing partnership, LIFE FORCE provides the clinical team for medical operations and Med-Trans Corporation provides pilots and mechanics for the aeromedical service, along with the aircraft. Med-Trans equips the LIFE FORCE fleet with Airbus H135 helicopters and Bell 407 helicopters. The EC145e model will be stationed at the Cleveland base. LIFE FORCE plans to transition the aircraft to full operation in early July.