Travis County (Texas) will be the first AW169 operator in the US, utilizing the helicopter in a para public mission supporting patient transport, search and rescue, law enforcement and firefighting missions.
Leonardo Helicopters announced from the Air Medical Transport Conference in Fort Worth, USA that the Travis County, Texas based STARFLight operation will become the first U.S. based operator of three new AW169s. The county-based EMS provider announced upgrades to its helicopter fleet to more modern and capable aircraft several months ago, deciding to sell the county’s Bell UH-1H Huey helicopter first, then replace other helicopters in the fleet as the newer AW169’s arrived.
Travis County will be the launch customer for the EMS-configured AW169 as it begins service in the United States, Travis County is expecting their first aircraft delivery in October 2018.
In addition to EMS operations, the AW169 will support Travis County’s search and rescue, law enforcement support, and fire suppression efforts in the area surrounding Austin, Texas. The three AW169s will allow STAR Flight to grow its operational capabilities, including the ability to transport patients longer distances and increased capabilities for search and rescue, as well as responsiveness to wildfires. The county’s helicopters will be configured with a multi-purpose interior that includes specialty EMS equipment and stretchers that can be reconfigured to incorporate search and rescue and firefighting kits. Additionally, Travis County’s AW169s will be equipped with a hoist and a 300-gallon Simplex belly tank.
The first HEMS configured sale of the AW169 in the United States shows the success of the AW family of aircraft around the world with the AW139 and AW189 also adding to the success of the Leonardo helicopters that ceneter arounda common infrastructure and operational functionality for pilots, making the ease of switching between aircraft a simple process. Leonardo now has more than 160 agreements for AW169s, including orders and optionssigned by nearly 70 customers in 30 countries.
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