The first fleet of Leonardo AW169 helicopters in the United States to be configured for EMS and search-and-rescue is now in service. Travis County’s (Texas) Star Flight began operating its third AW169 medium twin earlier this year in south-central Texas, an area notorious for flash flooding and with a population of more than 1.2 million, including Austin.
Star Flight’s AW169s are equipped for 24/7 operations. Missions include emergency medical transport, still- and swift-water rescue, search-and-rescue, high-angle rescue, fire suppression/aerial reconnaissance, and law-enforcement safety assistance. Star Flight also transports neonatal, pediatric ICU, and high-risk obstetrics medical teams and patients. The cabins are configured to transport up to two patients and five medical personnel. Each of Star Flight’s AW169s is also equipped with a rescue hoist and a 300-gallon Simplex belly tank for fire suppression.
The AW169 has a maximum range of 440 nm and cruises at 160 knots. Standard avionics include four-axis, dual-duplex digital automatic flight control, and a night-vision-compatible cockpit. More than 200 AW169s have been ordered worldwide, including from parapublic customers in the United Kingdom, Japan, Republic of Korea, and New Zealand.