Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) has signed a contract to purchase two S-76D helicopters for its Angel One intensive care medical transport unit, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. announced from Heli-Expo 2013.
The new aircraft will replace the two S-76 helicopters already flying the Angel One team as it performs life-saving missions every day throughout the greater Arkansas region. The Sikorsky helicopters have been active since 1992, responding to critical calls to transport infants and young children to the hospital for the unique care it provides.
The Angel One fleet is equipped with dual-litter Lifeport interiors, including specialty equipment such as ECMO units, blood-bottle hangers and oxygen systems to treat infant and pediatric patients in distress. Each helicopter flies about 900 hours per year.
“When there is an emergency call and a life hangs in the balance, Angel One moves into action. The speed with which we can respond can mean the difference between life and death. With the S-76D helicopter, Angel One has added a critical tool to do an immensely important job. I can tell you that the sound of those rotor blades as the helicopter approaches to pick up a sick child is a sound that many parents tell us they’ll never forget,” said Angel One director Steve Haemmerle.
Ten years ago, Shari Wells experienced that moment. She had just delivered her first child, Jacob, in her hometown hospital in Searcy when doctors discovered that the baby’s oxygen levels were dangerously low and other issues presented a life-threatening situation. As an Arkansas resident and a nurse, Wells knew that her baby needed to get to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, fast. “I was sitting in the hospital bed and could hear the helicopter landing. I was just shaking because I knew they were coming for my baby,” Wells said.
Today, Jacob is a healthy, energetic 10-year-old boy whose early days spent at Arkansas Children’s Hospital saved his life.
Located in Little Rock, Arkansas Children’s Hospital coordinates with a network of local hospitals that depend on ACH to respond to cases that require an expertise in infant and child medical care. Last year, Angel One’s S-76 helicopters flew more than 1,000 missions, serving a 250-mile radius.
“Sikorsky Aircraft has a history that was founded on the vision of saving lives through the use of a helicopter, because it can perform in ways that no other aircraft can. The work being done by Arkansas Children’s Hospital with Sikorsky helicopters has proven to be a model program in the United States for specialized infant and pediatric medical care, and is a very real example of Igor Sikorsky’s legacy at work every day,” said Robert Kokorda, Sikorsky Vice President of Sales.
“By adding Sikorsky’s newest helicopter, the S-76D, to its fleet, Arkansas Children’s Hospital has given its team a new tool that brings improved speed and performance to the mission, and a greater capacity for continuing to save lives,” Kokorda said.
Sikorsky expects to deliver the new S-76D helicopters to ACH in 2014.
The S-76D helicopter is the latest in the family of popular S-76 helicopters manufactured by Sikorsky. It received Type Certification from the Federal Aviation Administration in October 2012 and is continuing its envelope expansion for additional certifications throughout 2013 and 2014. Customer deliveries are planned for the second quarter of 2013, when the S-76D helicopter officially begins to join the global fleet of S-76 helicopters conducting a variety of missions from VIP to offshore oil transport. The fleet of more than 800 S-76 helicopters has logged more than six million flight hours to date.