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Thu, Aug 18, 2005

Upgraded: Travis County STAR Flight Moves Up to EC145

STAR (Shock Trauma Air Rescue), a public safety EMS helicopter unit operated by Travis County as part of the Austin-Travis County EMS System in Austin, Texas, is upgrading its fleet by replacing its two Eurocopter EC135s with two larger, heavier-lifting EC145s (file photo, below).

“We put out an RFP for heavy-lift helicopters that could handle a mix of EMS, search and rescue (SAR), firefighting, and law enforcement support missions,” says Willy Culberson; STAR Flight’s director of aviation. “We looked at all the helicopters that were available in this class, and saw that the EC-145 best met our mission parameters.”

Powered by two Turbomeca ARRIEL 1E2 engines, the EC145 is capable of carrying one pilot and nine passengers. With a fast cruise speed of 132 kts, an advanced MEGHAS glass cockpit, an optional IFR configuration with digital autopilot for both single or dual pilot applications and a duration of almost four hours, the EC145 is a true multi-mission helicopter.

“The flying conditions in Texas are hot,” notes Culberson. “Add STAR’s SAR duties, and we often find ourselves flying in adverse weather; such as heavy downpours resulting in flash floods. This is why we need a highly capable, highly robust aircraft like the EC145. The EC135 has been a top performer for STAR Flight, but the EC145 can do more.”

“With the tough missions we have to fly, we appreciate the EC145s’ combination of safety features, tremendous capabilities, and high performance,” concludes Culberson. “It will help STAR Flight do our job even better than before.”

FMI: www.eurocopterusa.com

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