Airbus Helicopters and the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation have formed a new partnership to explore the use of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for air medical services. The partners will determine operational requirements for conducting air medical missions in Norway. These requirements will then be integrated into the configuration of the CityAirbus NextGen, the eVTOL aircraft that Airbus is developing.
Two objectives of the partnership are to reduce emergency response times for air medical services in Norway and to improve patient outcomes. The Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation and Airbus Helicopters will create a comprehensive roadmap to achieve these objectives for specific scenarios and to improve the performance of the Norwegian Emergency Medical Services system.
“This approach could be further expanded in the region through collaboration with other countries to optimise operations beyond the national healthcare system,” according to the announcement from Airbus.
The expertise in aviation that Airbus brings “is a major asset to help us combine different aircraft for medical services,” commented Hans-Morten Lossius, Secretary General of the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation.
“Helicopters remain essential to perform EMS missions, whilst eVTOLs can bring additional capabilities to support first responders, for instance by transporting medical specialists to accident scenes or organs from one medical site to another,” explained Lossius.
The Norwegian Air Ambulance, Norway’s national Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) operator, utilizes a fleet of H135 and H145 models.
Balkiz Sarihan, Head of Urban Air Mobility at Airbus, commented that the company is looking forward to working as a strategic partner of the foundation. “The Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation has always been at the forefront of medical innovation, most recently with dedicated research to integrate a CT scanner into a five-bladed H145 helicopter,” Sarihan stated.
Through this new partnership, Airbus will be able to “further develop the exact missions where our eVTOL’s capabilities would contribute to protecting citizens and making sure they can access effective healthcare in Norway,” she added.
Evaluating the efficiency of Norway’s emergency medical system as it exists today will be the first step in creating an ecosystem that incorporates eVTOL aircraft.
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