A small collection of onlookers gathered at Coronation Airport on Friday, September 6 to witness the debut of STARS new donor-funded AW139 helicopter.
The craft landed at the airport at approximately 1:45 p.m. to engage in outreach training in advance of becoming fully operational by the end of September.
According to a STARS press release, the new BK139 incorporates faster response times, a twin engine for greater lifting capacity and a de-icing system to enable prompt responses in unfavourable weather conditions.
Another feature of the new helicopter is a roomier medical interior space and side loading capacities, which Flight Nurse Lucille De Baudrap said is an asset for patients.
“In the [previous model] BK, the area they would load patients into was quite a bit narrower and we would load from the back,” De Baudrap said, noting that the patient would be against a side wall, making uniform access to injury at times a difficult task.
“Here you can access the patient from both sides, and easily,” she says, “So apart from it being faster and doing all these other things, I have better access to the patient.”
The tracks in the interior loading panel are multidimensional, meaning the patient can be loaded at a vertical, horizontal, or slanted motion.
STARS responded 1, 539 times to emergencies in 2012, so the new helicopters are a welcome addition to ensuring safety across the region.