New EMS B429 lands in New Mexico

New EMS B429 lands in New Mexico

21-Aug-2011 Source: San Juan Regional Medical Center

Four Corners residents might have noticed an unfamiliar sound and object in the air as San Juan Regional Medical Center’s new Bell 429 air ambulance landed at the hospital over the past weekend and its pilots began training flights.

The Bell 429 AirCare helicopter replaces the hospital’s previous Bell 222 model, which was leased for 17 years and safely transported patients for over 13,000 flight hours.

Among the safety features available on the hospital’s new Bell 429 air ambulance is a Helicopter Terrain Awareness Warning System (HTAWS), which alerts the pilot to possible terrain hazards and obstacles. This technology has just become available within the past year and a half for helicopters and is a recommended component by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Other NTSB recommended safety enhancements included on the Bell 429 are an on-board system that will alert the pilot of nearby aircraft and a mechanical component monitoring system. This system—combined with new manufacturing technologies—will reduce required aircraft maintenance expense and enhance aircraft availability.

Design features add improvements to patient loading and treatment while on board the aircraft. The interior of the Bell 429 is designed to carry up to two patients and three medical crew members during flight. Clamshell rear doors are opened in much the same way as ambulance doors, allowing for easier loading and unloading.

“We selected this helicopter because of its speed, high-altitude performance, interior room, and patient accessibility” Mike Berve, manager of AirCare and trauma services at San Juan Regional Medical Center, says. San Juan Regional Medical Center purchased the new air ambulance at a cost of $6.3 million. The hospital’s AirCare department serves the Four Corners region of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado.

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