Case Study: Airlec Air Ambulance uses first air ambulance configuration of Falcon 900EX
Paul Tiba describes a memorable mission that made use of Airlec’s Falcon 900EX – the world’s first version of the aircraft in air ambulance configuration
Following delivery of the jet, Airlec was able to accept longer missions due to the aircraft’s extensive range of more than 4,500 nanometres, in addition to being able to transport multiple patients at once.
Multiple trauma patients in need of transport Early in 2022, Airlec was contacted by one of its clients for a very special request – a long-range mission transporting five patients from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to Paris and Lyon in France. The request included the medical details of five patients, all presenting with mostly severe injury patterns following a traumatic race accident involving multiple vehicles including a quad, motorbike, and car. The patients’ injuries ranged from a polytrauma with a D8 fracture, a C7 fracture and a patient with D6-D7-D8 fractures. Another patient suffered rib fractures in addition to vertebrae and leg fractures. One of the five patients had suffered less severe injuries, and was able to be transported in a sitting position.
After ensuring that the mission could be performed in alignment with crew duty times and availability, the medical director also cleared the flight from a medical perspective, confirming that all five patients could be transported in a safe and comfortable manner whilst being confident that sufficient medical resources would be available onboard. The flight routing – Bordeaux to Riyadh and back to Paris – would require landing permits in Riyadh, Saudi as well as Paris and Lyon, as two patients had to proceed onwards to the city after their initial journey to Paris.
Airlec’s operation’s centre also secured overflight permissions for the designated routing. Due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions and additional health risks, Airlec also arranged for testing capacities and pre-travel registration for all crew and patients involved.
Extended crew needed for long-range mission
The mission was performed with an increased medical and flight crew, meaning having two pilots onboard alongside the extended medical team consisting of an experienced flight physician and three critical care nurses. After pre-positioning and providing sufficient rest time for the crew in Riyadh, all five patients were safely transported to Airlec’s Falcon by ground ambulance and checked by the medical team for a final fit-to-fly assessment.
The flight routing took the crew from a very hot Riyadh back the chilly city of Paris, where three of the five patients had reached their destination and were picked up by ground ambulances to safely transport them to their receiving hospitals. For two of the patients onboard the Falcon – both with less severe injuries – the trip was going to continue to Lyon on Airlec’s Merlin IIIB.
Airlec had already pre-positioned its Merlin IIIB in Paris, where it met the Falcon for a smooth wing-to-wing handover. After ensuring both patients were comfortable and ready for their final leg, Airlec’s Merlin crew continued their flight to Lyon. With a flight time of less than one hour, the Merlin crew was able to hand over the two patients to their respective ground ambulances, which proceeded to transport them to their receiving hospitals. After a successful wing-to-wing mission, the Merlin also made its way back to the home base in Bordeaux to prepare for the next mission.
With a total flight time of 13hrs – six hours from Bordeaux to Riyad, seven hours from Riyadh to Paris – the mission was a perfect match for the Falcon’s capability to fly multiple patients on long range legs.
A truly remarkable mission with a very satisfactory outcome for the patients and some truly breath-taking views for the crew. It is safe to say that this will be one of many missions around the globe with Airlec’s Falcon 900 EX.