Life Lion adds new base in Lancaster County

March 6, 2023 | Penn State Health Release

Penn State Health Life Lion Critical Care Transport is deepening its commitment to Lancaster County and all of central Pennsylvania by welcoming a new helicopter to its lifesaving fleet and establishing a new critical care transport base on the Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center campus.

The newest aircraft joins a fleet of three other helicopters and is an H155 model, developed by Airbus as part of its Dauphin family of helicopters. It is the same model as the last helicopter to join the Life Lion fleet in 2018. Life Lion now has the two largest aeromedical helicopters in the state, equipped with large interior cabins that allow for advanced lifesaving equipment and space for crew members and medical specialists to administer care. All four Life Lion aircraft have two engines and are equipped with instruments that allow for safe flight in a wide range of conditions, including low visibility.

“Regularly updating and expanding our equipment reinforces our ability to provide the highest-quality care for critically ill and injured patients,” said Keith McMinn, director of Penn State Health Life Lion. “Adding a new helicopter to our fleet allows us to increase our capacity to provide leading-edge medical care to the region.”

The new critical care transport base at Lancaster Medical Center will provide closer medical air and ground transport coverage to residents of Lancaster County and the surrounding region. Life Lion operates two other bases, one on the campus of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and one at Carlisle Airport. All three locations are staffed by expertly trained, highly-specialized crew members including flight nurses, flight paramedics and pilots as well as a skilled and experienced in-house maintenance team. Communications specialists familiar with the region facilitate communication and continuous real-time tracking during all transports from the Life Lion Communications Center located at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.  At any given time, three of Life Lion’s four helicopters are in service while the fourth is undergoing scheduled maintenance.

“Safe air transport when moments count is a key component of high-quality emergency medical care, and adding a base for it here reflects our commitment to being close to our patients when they need us most,” said Dr. Michael Reihart, director of emergency services at Lancaster Medical Center.

In addition to the four helicopters, Life Lion Critical Care has a pediatric ground transport ambulance. Since its first patient flight in 1986, Life Lion has flown more than 45,000 patients, including stroke and cardiac patients, traumatic accident and burn victims, critically ill infants and others in urgent need of high-level care. About 15 percent of Life Lion’s flights are trauma-related and the other 85 percent are inter-hospital transports, including patients in need of care and organs for transplant. Life Lion pilots have an average of 34 years of experience, while the program’s paramedics average 22 years and nurses average 18 years of experience.

Metro delivers new EC145E to UC Health

March 6, 2023 | Metro Aviation Release

UC Health Air Care & Mobile Care(UC Health) is upgrading its fleet of critical care helicopters with the addition of a new Airbus EC145e aircraft. The new helicopter will be replacing several older BK 117 aircraft currently in operation and is the third aircraft Metro Aviation has completed for Cincinnati-based UC Health.

The new EC145e is equipped with Metro’s standard medical interior and Genesys Aerosystems’ instrument flight rules (IFR) HeliSAS Autopilot and Stability Augmentation, providing safety and workload reduction for both single and dual pilot operations. The aircraft also includes Outerlink Global Solutions’ IRIS combined voice, video, and flight data recorder – a Metro must-have. The video function and data monitoring are crucial for pilot training. The flight following, push-to-talk radio, and live alerts and warnings allow the operational control center to verify conditions in real-time.

“UC Health is so excited to welcome our newest addition to the UC Health Air Care fleet,” said Ruda Jenkins, Program Director for UC Health Air Care & Mobile Care. “It has been a pleasure working with Metro Aviation on the completion of our third aircraft. UC Health values the partnership we have with Metro Aviation and the attention to detail regarding aviation safety, patient safety, and provider workflow. Together we will continue to provide the highest quality medical care to Southwest Ohio.”

Metro Aviation, Genesys Aerosystems and S-TEC established a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the aircraft in February 2019.  The HeliSAS system is a safety upgrade that significantly reduces the pilot’s workload, making it easier to adjust radios, set destinations, and more. The new medical helicopter also includes the Genesys Aerosystems IDU-450 EFIS. The IDU (Integrated Display Units) and EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System) configure the aircraft’s display screens in various ways to show flight instruments, moving maps, flight planner, traffic and terrain, weather radar, engine displays, and more.

Metro Aviation will display the new UC Health EC145e aircraft during Heli-Expo 2023 in Atlanta, March 7-9, on Booth C4012.