RACQ LifeFlight helicopter medical upgrade to save more lives

The upgrade of the state-of-the-art rescue helicopter, by local company HeliMods at Caloundra, marks an important milestone in the renewal of the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue fleet, following the introduction of three new AW139s in the past year.

LifeFlight General Manager Operations, Brian Guthrie, said the faster, high-tech helicopters created real lifesaving benefits for the Queensland community with their speed and efficiency along with the capacity to deliver world class air medical patient care.

“As demand on our air medical service continues to grow, it has been vital for us to ensure that our AW139 aircraft receive this important medical fitout to upgrade them to a standard which is comparable with any air medical ambulance anywhere else in the world,” Mr Guthrie said.

“The EMS fitout ensures our aircraft also have all of the lifesaving equipment that a modern state-of-the-art emergency department would have.

“The HeliMods fitout and configuration is designed to provide rapid installation and removal of equipment, allowing the aircraft to be reconfigured in-flight or on the ground to suit a wide range of missions, including search and rescue, paediatric and neonatal transport and rapid incident responses.

“The 139 is a faster aircraft which means we can get to our patients quicker and transport them to advanced specialist care quicker. With a sophisticated EMS fitout, they will also receive better medical care from our expert medical crew while they’re in the air.

“The Sunshine Coast and Gympie regions have been well serviced by the AW139s with 57 missions having been flown to and from the area in the past 10 months.”

The completion today represents the second of three RACQ LifeFlight Rescue AW139s to have undergone its medical fitout by local aviation company, HeliMods, valued at more than $1.8 million per aircraft, with the third aircraft due to arrive at the Caloundra hangar next week.

The company is widely regarded as one of the best helicopter modification companies in the world, completing work for companies in Australia, the United States and Canada.

HeliMods Managing Director Will Shrapnel acknowledged the importance of two industry leaders coming together in the design of the EMS fitout.

“It is great to work with a world class operator in RACQ LifeFlight Rescue and know that we can provide them with the most innovative and adaptive EMS configuration in the market,” Mr Shrapnel said. 

“For both industry-leading organisations to also call Queensland home is really great to see and is very important especially in anticipation of the release later this year of the Queensland Government Aerospace Roadmap, which aims to grow the sector to create more jobs in the future.

 “The RACQ LifeFlight Rescue project is a prime example of the value that aerospace and aviation brings to the Sunshine Coast.  Such a project is a testament to the support we have received from the community and council, and indicative of the high value work delivered out of Caloundra Aerodrome.

“This has been a collaborative process from the start.  We were able to leverage RACQ LifeFlight Rescue’s extensive experience as an operator with our experience in the design and manufacture of EMS configurations and products for emergency and ambulance services across Australia and the world.

“Some of the unique features designed into the EMS configuration include dual airways access for two patients simultaneously, a dedicated EMS power and gas distribution system to supply critical life support and sophisticated monitoring equipment for complex cases. This will allow the transfer of more neonatal and paediatric patients.

“The EMS fitout makes the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue AW139 fleet among the most advanced multi-role aircraft in operation anywhere in the world. Our team can be very proud of their efforts in this project and the lives they will help to save through RACQ LifeFlight Rescue.”

Mr Guthrie said the AW139 EMS fitout would ensure RACQ LifeFlight Rescue would continue to deliver superior patient care to the Sunshine Coast and wider Queensland population now and into the future. 

The EMS fitout of the AW139s was made possible by the incredible generosity of RACQ LifeFlight Rescue’s supporters and donors who helped fundraise much of the money.