This 7 million dollar UC helicopter is state of the art

Sep 13, 2012

A state of the art helicopter is sitting on the University Hospital helipad. In the next two weeks the 7-million dollar chopper will go into service.

The Air Care crew is taking critical care transport to the next level.

This EC145 is safer, faster and bigger. Flight doc and Medical Director Bill Hinckley said the first time he got onboard it was an emotional experience.

"The first time I saw that aircraft land on this helipad it was emotional. You could just feel that it's a whole new era for our program."

What's different? It has crash avoidance systems, more power to lift, can take heavier patients and more patients. Flight nurse Joseph Gucwa, on the UC committee to design the chopper, called it a giant lego kit with lots of add-ons.

"First little things make a difference like a metal floor. A lot of times they're plastic. These seats are designed to collapse and absorb impact so you can take this helicopter and raise it off the ground and just drop it and everybody would be ok."

The medical equipment is more advanced. The helicopter has a full heart lung bypass machine and eventually will have an ultra sound. Lead pilot Jim Pace likes the way it flies.

"It's just a great flying machine."

The first patient flight is scheduled in about two weeks. 

See more pictures here.