Our Aircraft Fleet - CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System

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Our Aircraft Fleet

Airbus H 145 (EC-145 or BK-117 C2)

H145 Helicopter

The H 145 is a profoundly capable, medium-sized, twin-engine helicopter. This family of aircraft has logged over one million flight hours. The H 145 is equipped with two Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 engines that deliver excellent performance, even in one-engine inoperative scenarios. The H 145 has an integrated glass cockpit with a systems and engine multifunction display. It has built-in safety aspects including energy-absorbing fuselage and seats, along with crash-resistant fuel cells. The H 145 is also equipped with Wide Area Augmentation System Instrument Flight Rules (WAAS-IFR) technology. The IFR package provides the capability to fly in inclement weather. This technology is similar to that used in commercial airliners. Flight For Life is the only program in the region to offer WAAS-IFR capable flight.

  • Rotor span 36’
  • Length 43’
  • Top speed 133 knots

Airbus H 135 (EC-135)

Helicopter 145

The popular H 135 twin-engine helicopter incorporates the latest technology with excellent visibility, quietness and safety. The high performance of the H 135 ensures rapid and efficient interventions when saving lives. Its maneuverability and visibility enable the pilot to land more safely in confined areas. IFR avionics also offer all-weather reliability.

  • Rotor span 34’
  • Length 40’
  • Fast cruise speed 136 knots

Bell 407GX

H130 Aircraft

The Bell 407GX provides a quick start-up and high performance with its high-definition displays, rapid processors and a Rolls-Royce M250-C47E/7 dual channel FADEC turbine engine. This nimble four-blade aircraft provides fast response times and precision navigation, whether responding to crises on scenes or in hospitals. It features the new Garmin G1000 H-model glass cockpit along with superior avionics and improved flight control.

  • Rotorspan 35 feet
  • Length 41’ 8”
  • Max speed 140 knots

Aviation

Specifications

All CHRISTUS 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 CHRISTUS 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 CHRISTUS 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!