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Mother Frances Hospital
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Our Aircraft Fleet

Introducing our New Helicopter!

We are excited to unveil the newest Trinity Mother Frances Flight For Life aircraft, an American Eurocopter EC 145. This new addition to our medical transportation fleet is bigger, stronger, faster and safer, providing numerous state-of-the-art features to improve patient care and safety.

Patient Care

The new aircraft has a patient care area large enough to provide continuous critical care for two patients en route to the hospital. The flight crew consists of a pilot, flight nurse and flight paramedic. The helicopter is equipped with a Life Pack 15 monitor capable of monitoring electrocardiograms, transmitting 12-lead EKGs to Trinity Mother Frances for diagnosis of heart attacks, and the ability to monitor oxygen, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide levels in the body. It is also equipped with intravenous infusion pumps to deliver IV medications, a mechanical ventilator to provide oxygen, and a Glide Scope fiber optic camera to help visualize patient airways.


Both Trinity Mother Frances aircraft are equipped with advanced technology to maximize patient and crew member safety in transport. Unlike most air medical helicopters in operation across the country, both Trinity Mother Frances helicopters have twin engines to assure flight capability even if one engine were to fail. The lifting power of two engines also provides the capability to fly two patients on each aircraft. In addition, the new craft is equipped with dual pilot capability, as well as emergency ground proximity warning system and autopilot features. When lives are on the line performance is critical. The EC 145 provides the capability to lift over 900 pounds more than the BK 117. This allows the aircraft to carry more fuel to travel farther. The additional weight capability also allows the aircraft to ascend rapidly, as fast as 1,600 feet per minute. The aircraft can travel at a maximum speed of 166 miles an hour, which means if a patient needs to go from Mother Frances Hospital to Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, Flight for Life can get them there in less than 40 minutes.

Instrument Flight Rules Technology
Our aircraft are also equipped with instrument flight rules (IFR) technology. The IFR package provides the capability to fly in inclement weather. This technology is similar to that used in commercial airliners.

Weather Reporting Technologies
The new Flight For Life EC 145 is equipped with multiple weather reporting technologies that allow the flight crew to access real time satellite weather reports similar to those a meteorologist displays on the evening news. The satellite weather display is linked to GPS and mapping displays so crew members can see exactly where weather storms are located in relation to accident scenes, hospitals and flight paths. This technology is boosted by integrated terrain and aircraft avoidance systems. In addition to weather patterns, the cockpit screens indicate where other aircraft and tall obstacles like radio towers are in relation to the aircraft. The systems provide visual and audible warnings if the aircraft descends below the altitude set by the crew prior to departure.

Night Visibility
Since many accidents and medical emergencies occur at night, the new aircraft has been built with night vision goggle capabilities. By using night vision goggles identical to those used by our military Special Forces in the Middle East, Flight For Life crew members can literally see in the dark. The goggles work by identifying microscopic “pieces” of light and magnifying them to illuminate the darkness. The goggles are so sensitive that crew members can often see the flashing lights of emergency vehicles from 30 miles away!

Specification of the American EC 145 improving its performance over the BC 117:

1. Shock Resistant composite materials
2. Redundant design of all critical systems and components
3. Energy absorbing seats and landing gear
4. Advance glass-cockpit display helps reduce pilot workload
5. GPS navigation information
6. Traffic information system (aids in visual acquisition and situational awareness)
7. Terrain avoidance warning (shows general terrain elevation and individual obstructions)
8. XM satellite weather and flight information services (allows for update weather and operational information to the minute)
9. Aircraft total weight increase from 7055 lbs. to 7904 lbs.

Our secondary Flight For Life helicopter is an American Eurocopter BK 117 B-1. The BK 117 is a twin-engine helicopter equipped with dual electrical systems and a backup hydraulics system for improved aircraft safety. The helicopter can transport two patients plus a medical crew and a pilot and it has the largest capacity of any area helicopter medical transport next to our own EC 145.

The normal cruising speed of the BK 117 is 145 miles per hour with a range of 210 miles for inter-hospital transport or 105 miles for scene transport without refueling.  

 Specifications of the BK 117 B-1:




Overall length (rotors turning)

42 ft 8 in

13 m

Over height (rotors turning)

12 ft 7 in

3.85 m

Overall width (skid width)

8 ft 2 in

2.5 m

Rotor diameter 

36 ft 1 in

11 m

Cabin length

9 ft 10 in

3 m

Cabin height

4 ft 1 in

1.24 m

Cabin width

4 ft

1.23 m

Maximum Fuel Capacity

187 gal

710 liters

Main rotor rpm 



Tail rotor rpm  



Maximum gross weight 

7040 lbs

3200 kg

Maximum speed

150 knots/173 mph

278 kph

Maximum operating Altitude

15,000 ft

49,211 m

Trinity Clinic

Trinity Clinic is the area's preferred multispecialty medical group, with over 350 physicians and mid-level providers representing 40 specialties in 36 clinic locations serving East Texas.

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