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6 Top medical helicopter types

We’ve carefully curated a list of the top medical helicopter types currently existing in the world. While it remains true that helicopters are generally associated with luxury air cruises or travels, another fact worth knowing is that some are designed to save lives in health emergency cases, evacuations, and rescues. 

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Air ambulance, as it is called, has become a highly beneficial part of the medical industry, just like ground ambulances have been helpful. These helicopters are equipped with medical and patient care supplies and professional medical staff to ensure that the treatment and stability of the patient commences en route to the hospital.

Helicopters became a thing for medical emergencies a long time ago. Air medical services all began during the First World War.

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The military used them to evacuate injured soldiers from the battlefield. Not too long after, it was extended to civilians and remains so.

As great as this sounds, medical helicopters only come to the rescue on special occasions. We just pointed out a few.

On what occasion should a patient be airlifted with a medical helicopter?

Medical emergencies can become fatal if the patient can not get to the hospital in record time. This may be due to road traffic, distance, or the patient’s situation.

Emergencies like patients with trauma injuries, spinal cord injuries, stroke, burn, heart attack, and the like require to be airlifted. It buys the patients time because of its swiftness.

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Also, the highly professional medical team on board moves into action to make the patient comfortable and stable. The medical helicopter companies have done an excellent job and significantly improved these helicopters to be safer, faster, and resourceful for these medical purposes.

These companies try to outdo each other with the specs of the helicopters. However, the top medical helicopter types still stand out for us and bring us to our compiled list in no particular order.

Top Medical Helicopter Types in The World

Here are the various medical helicopter types you ought to know;

Bell 206L LongRanger light helicopter

Bell 206L LongRanger light helicopter was produced in 1975 and began operations in 1977. The latest version of it began operation in 1992.

The Bell 206L was built by Bell Helicopter Textron and got its safety approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). So far, it has been in service not just in the medical industry for emergency response but in the Military police force and also used by private individuals.

More of its uses include air ambulance cover for pensioners from insurance companies and transport for VIPs.

Bell 206 LongRanger Helicopter Specifications

Rotor

  • Speed: 394rpm
  • Diameter: 11.28m
  • Tail diameter: 1.65m
  • Length with rotors turning: 13.02m

Height

  • Main height: 3.14m
  • Height over tail: 2.90m

Width

  • Main width: 1.28m
  • Across stabilizers: 1.98m

Length

  • Main length: 2.74m
  • Fuselage length: 9.82m

Weight

  • Empty weight: 998kg
  • Max take-off weight: 665km
  • Take off weight with external load: 1930kg
  • Take off weight: 188okg

Capacity

  • Spacious cabin
  • Two pilots
  • Luggage space: 0.45m
  • About seven passengers
  • Five doors

Speed

  • Maximum speed: 240km/h
  • Maximum altitude: 6100m
  • Cruise speed altitude: 205km/h
  • Flying endurance: 4.1 hrs

McDonnell Douglas MD-900 Explorer helicopter

The McDonnell Douglas MD 900 Explorer is a light utility helicopter. It was manufactured in 1994 by an American-based helicopter company called MD Helicopters Inc. and flew in 1997.

The MD 900 Explorer operates as a medical emergency helicopter for the force.

Top medical helicopter types
Image by moerschy from Pixabay

MD 900 Explorer helicopter specifications

Capacity

  • 6-7 passengers
  • 1-2 pilots

Engine

  • Twin engine
  • Model: Pratt & Whitney Canada
  • Power: 530kw 711shp

Rotor

  • Main rotor diameter: 33ft 10in
  • Disc area: 899ft
  • Main and tail rotor blades: 5/NOTAR

Speed

  • Maximum speed: 248km/h
  • Maximum cruise speed: 244km/hr
  • Rate of climb: 841m/min

Weight

  • Empty weight: 1.458kg
  • Maximum take-off weight: 3.080kg

Length

  • Main length: 38ft
  • Fuselage length: 32ft

Eurocopter EC 145 Medical helicopter

The next one on our list of top medical helicopter types is the Eurocopter EC 145 helicopter. Two well-known medical helicopter companies, Airbus Helicopters, formerly Eurocopter, and Kawasaki Aerospace Company, co-manufactured this powerful flying machine. The EC 145 Heli was once called BK 117 C1.

Furthermore, EC 145 is used in an Emergency Medical Service and for casualty evacuation. It is among the largest Helis in such service and can accommodate two patients in stretchers and still have room for medical attendants.

Other features include having fixtures for searchlights, rescue hoists, emergency floats, and other rescue equipment.

Eurocopter EC 145 Helicopter specifications

Type

  • Light utility helicopter

Production date

  • 1999

Engine

  • Twin engine, Turboshaft

Rotor

  • Number of rotor blades: 4
  • Diameter: 11m
  • Tail diameter: 1.96m
  • Height to rotor head: 3.36m
  • Height, rotors turning: 3.85m
  • Length, blade turning: 13.01m

Speed

  • Maximum cruise: 245km/h
  • Flying endurance: 3hrs 25mins
  • Maximum fuel range: 670km

Capacity

  • Nine passengers
  • Cabin length: 2.97m
  • Cabin width: 1.72m
  • 1-2 pilots

Weight

  • Take off with external load weight: 3585kg
  • Take off with internal load weight: 3500kg

AugustaWestland AW109 power helicopter

Another top medical helicopter type is the AW109, manufactured by an Italian helicopter company called Augusta Westland. It entered service in 1997.

The AW 109 has a convertible cabin built for emergency medical evacuation, a space for a single stretcher for patient use, and an extra four seats for medical attendants.

AW 109 helicopter specification

Type

  • Lightweight multi-purpose helicopter

Engine

  • Turboshaft Twin engine: 560hp each
  • Model: Pratt & Whitney Canada

Capacity

  • 1 or 2
  • 4-8 Passengers

Weight

  • Empty weight: 1590kg
  • Maximum take off

Rotor

  • Diameter: 36ft 1inch

Speed

  • Maximum speed: 311km/h
  • Cruise speed: 285km/h
  • Speed not to exceed: 311km/h
  • Rate of climbing: 9.8m/s

Length

  • Fuselage length: 37 ft 7inch

Height

  • 11ft 6inch

MBB (Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm) Bo 105 helicopter

The MBB Bo 105 was developed in 1967 by Bolkow of Ottobrunn in Germany. A sleek, lightweight, multi-purpose helicopter that holds the record as the first lightweight twin-engine Heli in the world.

Also, the MBB Bo 105 was the first to do aerobatic maneuvers and possessed a fantastic hing-less rotor system. Its take-off control system is impeccable and solid.

The helicopter was built to handle good flying altitude, maneuverings, and turnovers. It qualified as a medical helicopter when the fuselage was restructured to meet the American demand for Emergency Medical Service (EMS) operations.

Other perks distinguishing the helicopter from others is the in-built intensive care unit with medical instruments like hot blankets, monitors, pediatric supplies, defibrillator, and ventilator.

MBB Bo 105 helicopter specifications

Type

  • Lightweight utility multi-purpose helicopter

Engine

  • 2 Turboshaft twin-engine
  • Model: Allison / Rolls-Royce 250 – C20B
  • Power: 420shp

Rotor

  • Main diameter: 32ft 3inch
  • Tail diameter: 6ft 3inch
  • Main and tail blades: 4/2
  • Disc area: 818ft

Speed

  • Maximum speed: 269km/h
  • Maximum cruise speed: 241km/h
  • Range: 550km
  • Rate of climb: 480m/min
  • Service ceiling: 5.182m

Weight

  • Empty weight: 1.256kg
  • Maximum take-off weight: 2.400kg

Height

  • 3.00m

Length

  • Fuselage length: 8.56m
  • Length: 11.86m

Capacity

  • Crew: 1-2
  • Passengers: 4

Eurocopter EC135 helicopter

The Eurocopter EC135 helicopter is another product from our already mentioned top medical helicopter companies, the Airbus Helicopters. It is a lightweight utility helicopter automated with a digital automatic flight control system.

The EC135 flew first on the 15th of February 1994 and fully entered service in 1996. It is the most silent Heli with a four-blade, hingless rotor.

Furthermore, the designs were intentionally built to serve medical purposes. It has clamshell doors strategically placed at the rear cabin and large doors on each side of the helicopter.

These are for easier medical rescue or emergency services. EC135, used for these medical services, has the intensive care unit, medical supplies, incubators, flat floors, and a stretcher space for two patients.

The EC135 helicopter specifications

Type

  • Lightweight utility helicopter

Engine

  • Twin engine
  • Turboshaft engines
  • Model: Pratt & Whitney Canada

Speed

  • Cruise speed: 254kn/h
  • Never exceed the speed limit of 287km/h
  • Range: 635km
  • Climbing rate: 1500ft/min
  • Service ceiling: 20,000ft

Height

  • 11ft 6inch

Length

  • 33ft 6inch

Capacity

  • One pilot
  • Seven passengers
  • Two patients

Rotor

  • Main rotor diameter: 33ft 6inches
  • Main rotor area: 879 sq ft.

Conclusion on the top medical helicopter types

It is an interesting thing to know that the health sector keeps finding more ways to reach people in emergency health situations and get them help quickly without further complications.

These medical helicopter companies still develop these helicopters as their demands keep rising. It is refreshing that they try to improve it by including more features in their latest designs.

More so, the Air ambulance services are now also part of the private medical services, and using them costs more than the ground ambulance. On the brighter side, insurance companies now cover for people who can afford it. Companies like SA Ambulance have an Ambulance cover for pensioners packages and other packages that can accommodate different calibers of people.

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