Picture this: An air ambulance helicopter is called to the site of a highway accident in a major city. Traffic is backed up and first responders are on the scene. The pressure is on to get the air ambulance helicopter to land on the highway and take off again quickly—for the patient’s sake and for traffic flow to be restored.
U.S.-based Air Methods has a fleet of 488 aircraft, of which 94% are helicopters, making them the largest helicopter operator in the world. Within that fleet, they operate the globe's biggest air medical company, transporting roughly 130,000 patients per year.
Air Ambulance Helicopter Load Capacity
Typically, for weight management, an air ambulance carries just 60% of its fuel capacity to be able to accommodate all the essential medical equipment and people: one pilot, one patient, and at least two medical professionals. Archie Gray, Senior Vice President of Aviation Services at Air Methods explains, “This type of work means that helicopters go through a lot of cycles and are often operating at high power settings, a combination that creates a lot of wear and tears on engine components.”
Always Ready to Fly
Air Methods' maintenance requirements are incredibly demanding. In order to ensure they must have aircraft in service in every region at all times, a spare air ambulance helicopter is at the every base to cover for maintenance downtime.
Their maintenance teams work closely with P&WC to make sure their fleet of Airbus H135 aircraft, powered by P&WC PW206B/B2 engines, are always ready to serve their communities. P&WC's PW206C and PT6B-37A engines also power many of other Air Methods aircraft.
"P&WC has engines sitting at a location ready to change in that aircraft before I even knew we needed an engine change. That's how integrated they are in this company."
- ARCHIE GRAY, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, AVIATION SERVICES, AIR METHODS