Patients in Greater Sydney now have improved access to lifesaving treatment with the addition of one of the world’s most advanced aeromedical aircraft to CareFlight’s fleet.

The Airbus H145 was officially launched when it landed for a public unveiling at the Sydney Opera House this morning.

The new helicopter, the first aeromedical aircraft of its kind in Australia, can be airborne within three minutes of activation and with a flight speed of up to 250km/hr can reach patients in Sydney, Blue Mountains and Central Coast within 15 minutes.

Research completed both in Australia and internationally provides clear evidence that the faster the patient gets medical treatment from a specialist doctor, the better the outcome.

“CareFlight flies our specialist doctor and NSW Ambulance intensive care paramedic to the scene of trauma so they can immediately assess and commence clinical treatment. For patients who are critically injured or ill we know this gives patients the best chance of survival, and with the H145 online, we will be able to arrive and commence treatment sooner,” said CareFlight’s National Medical Director, Dr Toby Fogg.

Continuing to reach patients rapidly is further enhanced by the aircraft’s safety features which allow it to land on small and uneven landing sites, as close to the scene of the incident as possible. These safety features include a small diameter high main rotor and fully enclosed Fenestron tail rotor. Being mounted on skids with a high belly clearance also widens the landing options available to the pilot.

Specially configured with the most up-to-date medical equipment including a mobile intensive care unit, the aircraft can carry a crew of three highly skilled and experienced medical staff and one patient. It can also be reconfigured to carry two patients and two medical staff if required.

The cabin is designed to mimic the internal space of a road ambulance and is fitted with advanced radio and intercom systems allowing patients to be closely monitored throughout their transportation. The rear clamshell doors allow for faster loading and unloading of patients saving critical minutes, ultimately improving patient outcomes.

“This helicopter is internationally recognised to be one of the safest and most advanced aeromedical helicopters in the world. This will help save lives and deliver to the community, an outstanding aeromedical service,” said CareFlight CEO, Mick Frewen.

“CareFlight was founded on innovation and we continue to strive to push ourselves, and the service, to ensure we get to patients fast so our doctors and NSW Ambulance intensive care paramedics can start life-saving clinical interventions as soon as they arrive at the scene,” he said.

CareFlight’s Rapid Response Helicopter is tasked by NSW Ambulance for 250-300 missions a year covering Greater Sydney, Central Coast and Blue Mountains regions.

Aviation capabilities

The Airbus H145 completes her maiden flight and lands in front of the iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

As one of the world’s most advanced aeromedical aircraft, The Airbus H145 offers significant improvements in safety and speed. With its faster flight speed, the helicopter ensures patients receive life-saving treatment as fast as possible.

In addition to the small diameter high main rotor and Fenestron tail, the H145 offers advanced flight features including full four axis autopilot, single pilot instrument flight rating and full night vision goggle compatible cockpit for 24-hour operations.

Adding to the external design features is the state-of-the-art cockpit which houses the Helionix Avionic system. The Helionix filters the information provided to aircrew through the glass panel display to provide the right information at the right phase of the mission. This includes information from the Synthetic Vision System (SVS) which displays an accurate view of the surrounding terrain and obstacles, regardless of outside visibility.

“The advanced cockpit, autopilot and avionics are first-class, making it one of the most advanced aeromedical helicopters operating in Australia,” said current Rapid Response Pilot and CareFlight Co-Founder, John Hoad.