Following months of preparation and training, CareFlight is delighted to announce that its newest world-class aeromedical helicopter, the Airbus H145, has commenced service and is now flying to the rescue of Australians.

This exciting milestone for CareFlight coincides with Mounties Group announcing one of the biggest sponsorship and community support initiatives known in club history.

Mounties Care, Mounties Group’s pioneering healthcare service which launched late last year, has stepped up to be the naming rights sponsor to the CareFlight Rapid Response Helicopter Service, helping ensure the ongoing viability for one of the most advanced aeromedical helicopters in Australia. The H145 helicopter will be branded Mounties Care CareFlight Helicopter.

CareFlight CEO Mick Frewen said the support Mounties Group has provided the charity over 11 years has been invaluable.

“Their unwavering commitment to us has certainly allowed us to grow our services and save even more lives and for that we are truly grateful,” Mick said.

“CareFlight is reliant on support from corporates, businesses and people in the community in ensuring CareFlight can carry out its mission to save lives, speed recovery and serve the community. This level of support has guaranteed that this much sought-after service will continue on for years to come,” Mick concluded.

Mounties Group CEO, Dale Hunt said the brand-new helicopter is like nothing you have ever seen before.

“It is state of the art technology and whilst COVID-19 restrictions do not allow me to go and see it in the flesh, I am incredibly proud that this is now out servicing the region and saving lives every day, as of today,” he said.

Since coming into service this week, the Mounties Care CareFlight Helicopter has already flown a number of missions. It flew its maiden mission to a man who fell three metres from a ladder onto concrete at a Schofields residence. The man, aged in his early 50s, sustained head injuries and required immediate medical attention.

Such falls have unfortunately become an all too common tasking for CareFlight during the lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. CareFlight Rapid Response Helicopter Medical Director, Dr Chris Cheeseman was the doctor who treated the patient on this first mission for the new helicopter.

“Working in the field of emergency medicine, we know that the sooner we reach patients and start clinical interventions, the better the outcome for patients. The H145 helicopter is capable of bringing a hospital level of care straight to the patient’s side,” explained Dr Cheeseman. “By flying a specialist doctor, like myself, and a NSW Ambulance critical care paramedic CareFlight is ensuring patients receive life-saving treatment as fast as possible.

“For our first patient on the H145 helicopter, it was crucial that we were able examine the man’s internal injury with our ultrasound device given the height that he fell and the impact of falling on concrete,” said Dr Chris.

Pilot Greg Ohlsson, who flew the clinical team with Aircrew Officer Dave Gardiner on the mission, explained that the H145 helicopter is capable of being airborne within three minutes from activation and has a flight speed of up to 250km/hr.

“In our very first patient response in the H145 helicopter, Dave and I had the aeromedical clinical crew on the ground at Schofields Park in under ten minutes from the time the activation call came in – and that includes the time it takes to start the aircraft and get airborne,” said Greg.

“For critically ill or traumatically injured patients, survival outcomes rely on a matter of minutes and the H145 brings that speed with a technological leap in safety. Dave and I have been flying aeromedical helicopters together for 15 years and we both agree that the H145, which is the first of its kind in aeromedical in Australia, is truly on its own level.  Even though we had very thorough training with the new helicopter, the extra capability and safety it brings to the rapid response role still blew me away on the actual job,” said Greg.

The H145 helicopter’s cabin is designed to mimic the internal space of a road ambulance and is specially configured with the most up-to-date medical equipment including a mobile intensive care unit and advanced radio and intercom system which allows patients to be closely monitored throughout their transportation.  The aircraft carries a crew of three highly skilled and experienced medical staff and one patient but can also be reconfigured to carry two patients and two medical staff if required.