STARS Air Ambulance, a Canadian emergency medical transportation provider and Airbus operator for more than 35 years, has become the first customer in North America to operate the new five-bladed H145 following the acceptance of its new helicopter in Fort Erie, Ontario. This latest version of the H145 family is the sixth delivery in the company's fleet renewal plan and the first five-bladed version to join the fleet. All remaining deliveries will consist of the new five-bladed H145 model and STARS has confirmed it will retrofit its initial five aircraft.
“By renewing our fleet with the H145, we deliver on our commitment to continually enhance the emergency care services we provide, as each life we save makes a huge difference in someone's family, someone's community,” says STARS CEO Andrea Robertson. “We are thrilled to now be introducing the five-bladed variant and extend a warm thank you to the Airbus teams for their longstanding support of our critical missions here in Canada.”
STARS, a physician driven non-profit helicopter air ambulance organisation, operates the H145 helicopters fitted with HEMS interiors to provide safe, rapid, highly specialised emergency medical transport to patients in need across western Canada.
The H145 was chosen after an independent review indicated the necessity for STARS to operate a unified, single-model helicopter fleet. In 2018, STARS published its fleet renewal plan for a total of nine H145 helicopters, the first of which was delivered in 2019. STARS recently increased its total order to 10 H145 helicopters.
“I remember when I first came to know STARS operating its BK117s, the predecessor to the H145, some of which we continue to support today, and it's very special to me to see it taking delivery of the first five-bladed variant in North America, which will provide it with an even better tool to carry out the incredibly important, time-sensitive work it does saving lives every day,” comments Romain Trapp, president of the North America region for Airbus Helicopters. “Airbus is proud to continue our support of its fleet renewal process, and we sincerely thank STARS for the trust it has placed in Airbus for more than 35 years, that continues today.”
This latest upgrade of the multi-mission H145 family adds a new, innovative five-bladed rotor system, increasing the useful load of the helicopter by 330 lbs, simplifying maintenance operations and improving ride comfort for both passengers and crew. Powered by two Safran Arriel 2E engines, the H145 is equipped with FADEC and Airbus's own Helionix digital avionics suite, increasing safety and reducing pilot workload.
Airbus Helicopters is a leading supplier of helicopters in Canada and has been a proud member of the country's aerospace community since 1984. Airbus Helicopters Canada has a 24/7 coast to coast network in place to support an in-service fleet of more than 760 helicopters nationwide. Across all its divisions, Helicopters, Commercial Aircraft, and Defence and Space, Airbus currently employs close to 4,000 people in Canada supporting aerospace throughout the country.