Metro Aviation has ordered 12 new EC145e helicopters from Airbus. This deal brings its total number of EC145e helicopters ordered to 43.
Metro operates air medical helicopters and aircraft for healthcare providers and is a global leader for multi-mission helicopter customisations. It was the first customer for the EC145e when Airbus Helicopters launched the simplified, lower weight variant in 2015. In 2019, Airbus Helicopters delivered the first EC145e locally produced at its industrial facility in Columbus, Missouri, where the remaining EC145e aircraft for Metro will also be produced. Metro has several aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2020.
“This new order comes as evidence of the sustained popularity of the EC145e among many air medical providers in the US, mainly because of its 200-300 lbs payload increase compared to the legacy EC145 C2,” says Mike Stanberry, Metro Aviation president. “Its simplified configuration, flexible cabin and the fact that this aircraft is proven, powerful, reliable and affordable explain why demand has been so high.”
The twin engine EC145e was initially introduced for use with visual flight rules (VFR), and Metro worked with Genesys Aerosystems and S-TEC of Mineral Wells, Texas, to develop an FAA-approved avionics package that includes supplemental type certificates for a single pilot/dual pilot instrument flight rules (IFR) system; a VFR electronic flight instrument system (EFIS); and autopilot and stability augmentation system enhancements. A Transport Canada certification for the IFR package is pending.
“Airbus Helicopters has a longstanding relationship with Metro Aviation, which found a particular need within the industry and was able to fulfil those specific mission requirements with the EC145e,” explains Romain Trapp, president of Airbus Helicopters and head of the North America region. “Airbus is pleased to support those offering new solutions in the industry, and we are especially proud to locally produce helicopters used for critical life-saving missions.”
Metro is currently operating the EC145e for Duke University, University of Utah, Vidant EastCare, West Michigan Air Care, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and GundersenAIR.
The first American-made EC145e, which was completed for Duke Life Flight of Duke Health based in Durham, North Carolina, has now been delivered. This is the first of two EC145e aircraft with IFR capability that Metro is completing for the programme.
“From beginning to end, the aircraft completion process has been seamless; we actually took delivery sooner than expected,” comments Duke Life Flight's programme director René Borghese. “We are thrilled with our new EC145e and look forward to taking delivery of the second aircraft very soon.”