Custom EC-130 Just What Doctor Ordered
Medi Flight of Oklahoma received the first of two new custom
designed EC 130 B4 helicopters, which the company says is, "the
first helicopter in the world to be used for hospital/air ambulance
service," around 7 p.m. Monday. (Oklahoma University Medical Center
owns and operates Medi Flight of Oklahoma.)
The EC 130 B4, which was flown in from Provo (UT), landed at OU
Medical Center's Everett Tower helipad near the hospital's trauma
center. There are only a handful of the newly designed helicopters
in use today, "but none," the company says, "until today, are used
for medical transport." The second EC 130 B4 should be delivered
around the first of June.
The EC 130 B4 helicopters are 25 percent faster than the Bell
206 Long Rangers that Medi Flight has been using for about 12
years. In addition, because the new helicopters have a much longer
range, Medi Flight will be able to serve the entire state of
Oklahoma from its centrally-located home base at OU Medical Center,
enhancing the ability to serve the rural areas of the state.
Because of the increased range and increased speed, any person
involved in a severe trauma could be transported to OU Medical
Center, the state's only American College of Surgeon's Level 1
rated Trauma Center (as of last summer). It is well-known that the
best chance of survival for an individual considered a level one
trauma, is to be treated at a trauma center.
In addition, the new helicopters' increased size will also allow
OU Medical Center more flexibility when transferring newborn
infants, who are transferred in large isolette beds, to The
Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center, which is the state's only
free-standing pediatric facility.
Since beginning operations in 1980, Medi Flight, which operates
both helicopter and ground ambulance services, has flown over 3.5
million miles and cared for more than 30,000 patients of all ages.
On average, Medi Flight performs about 1,200 flights per year.