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As the first operator in the Nordic countries, Babcock Scandinavian AirAmbulance (BSAA) announced on Jan. 16 that its state-of-the-art Leonardo AW169 is now in active ambulance service.
The helicopter is operated on behalf of Region Jamtland Harjedalen, and it replaces the former AS365 Dauphin that the company has flown since 2006.
Shortly after 10 a.m. on Jan. 13, the new helicopter and flight crew were ready to start from Ostersund Base for their first patient assignment ever. The mission was a long-term patient transport southwards, and the crew returned very satisfied when they returned to Ostersund after more than four hours in the air.
“It’s a big and historic event for us and for the region to finally get into the air with [the] AW169, “said company operations manager Thure Waplan. “The launch has been preceded by a long period of customization and training to ensure the highest quality and safety right from start, which means that today we are delighted to be operational with one pass capable helicopter.”
With the factory-new helicopter, the healthcare environment is expected to improve significantly while providing many customized solutions.
At the front of the cockpit, the AW169 offers better situational awareness while allowing more advanced automation. This gives the region a very good opportunity to work in current and future flight procedures.
The base in Ostersund is the first of four Swedish ambulance helicopter bases that will replace its existing helicopters with the Leonardo AW169 in 2018. The next turn is Gallivare, Lycksele and the recently awarded base in Gothenburg.
Parallel to this is also an effort to replace the helicopters at the company’s base in Stockholm with two new Airbus H145s in the spring.
“Overall, we are currently implementing the most extensive rejuvenation ever of the country’s ambulance helicopter fleet,” said Waplan. “It is a task we manage with great confidence and respect, while we are very happy about the trust we have received.”