‘Very up to date’: STARS unveils new Edmonton air ambulance helicopter

Content of the article

Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS) unveiled its new helicopter in Edmonton on Tuesday, which it says will help aircrews get to patients faster and from further away.

Content of the article

The new Airbus H145 is the ninth helicopter in a fleet upgrade process that has spanned a decade in planning.

The arrival of the new aircraft began in 2018, and with Tuesday’s addition, all six STARS bases in Western Canada are now equipped with the new model.

« These planes bring a ton of additional safety features, but they also bring an increase in speed and an increase in range, » said Scott Young, plane captain and director of fleet implementation at STARS. .

« Really, it brings our older aircraft to a very, very up-to-date status. »

Young said the previous generation of helicopters were « excellent and very reliable », but were also approaching four decades of service and were increasingly in need of upgrades and becoming more expensive to maintain.

Content of the article

The H145s will also be phased in as the only helicopter type in the fleet where previously two helicopter types were used.

« Ten years ago we knew this day was coming, » Young said.

“We wanted a type of aircraft in the future. It is more economical and much more efficient to use a single type of aircraft for our operations.

The same type of aircraft was introduced at STARS Base Grande Prairie last month, and a tenth H145 will be introduced in September, according to Young.

The helicopter ambulance service has an annual operating budget for its Alberta locations in Grande Prairie, Calgary and Edmonton of approximately $30 million. About 20% of that is funded by the government, while STARS relies on donors to raise more than $25-26 million a year.

CEO Andrea Robertson says the generosity made the fleet upgrade possible.

« These new aircraft are an investment in our ability to serve the people of Alberta and Western Canada, » she said.

“We are extremely grateful to the community for helping us achieve our goal. »

— with files by Kellen Taniguchi


Twitter: @ByMatthewBlack


Back to top button