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CINCINNATI—UC Health Air Care & Mobile Care has added a new EC145 helicopter to its fleet of helicopter emergency medicine aircraft serving the Greater Cincinnati region.

Painted the bright red and black University of Cincinnati colors, the new EC145 helicopter will replace one of Air Care’s current BK117 helicopters and go into patient service later this month. A second, identical EC145 will arrive in December to be stationed at the Butler County Airport covering Cincinnati’s northern suburbs.

“UC Health is thrilled to have our impressive Air Care teams operate in this new, state-of-the-art aircraft,” says W. Brian Gibler, MD, president and CEO of UC Health University Hospital. “This helicopter will allow our flight teams to transport patients faster and more safely, using the absolute latest in medical and aviation technology."

The new EC145, manufactured by Eurocopter, is part of UC Health’s contract with Metro Aviation, which will provide pilots, mechanics and parts. All pilots and staff have undergone about three weeks of training in the new aircraft.

An interdisciplinary committee of UC Health Air Care personnel, including flight nurses, physicians, mechanics and pilots, worked with Metro Aviation to custom design the helicopter interior, including a modular system for storing medical equipment inside the aircraft.

The new helicopter is 7 inches wider and 13 inches longer than the BK117—but the small difference carries a big impact, allowing the team to access the entire patient, head to toe, for care. It’s also able to carry 900 pounds more, allowing for carrying additional personnel or equipment during a flight.

The EC145 also comes with substantial equipment upgrades, including new heart monitors with EKG transmission capability and military-quality ventilators.

Enhanced safety features include:
● An air traffic collision avoidance system showing other aircraft up to 50 miles away.
● A wire strike prevention warning system to help pilots detect obstacles near the landing zone.
● Energy absorbing seats and fuselage.
● XM weather radar and airport landing maps.
● An all-glass cockpit with night-vision-goggle compatibility.

“Quite simply, the EC145 aircraft is bigger, stronger, faster and provides additional safety features than our current 25-year-old aircraft do,” says Air Care & Mobile Care director Teri Grau. “Along with enhanced safety features, the aircraft offers a combination of speed and performance that will allow UC Health to better serve the medical transport needs of Greater Cincinnati. When lives are on the line, performance and enhanced safety features are critical.

“We’re excited to continue our partnership with Metro Aviation,” adds Grau. “Their commitment to safety, service and leadership correlates with UC Health’s core values—and we look forward to building a lasting relationship with them.” 

Air Care & Mobile Care transports more than 8,000 patients (1,000 by air, 7,000 by ground) in the Greater Cincinnati area each year. Each flight includes both an emergency medicine physician and nurse providing advanced transport medicine to the patient in flight.

For nearly 30 years, Air Care & Mobile Care has provided the Greater Cincinnati area with advanced transport medicine and the most clinically advanced crew and resources.

In addition to helicopter emergency medical services, Air Care & Mobile care provides three levels of ground transport: Mobile Intensive Care, Advanced Life Support and Basic Life Support. It is the only service in the region to be accredited in all four levels of medical transport by the Commission on Accreditation of Transport Services (CAMTS).

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