Case study: European Air Ambulance Challenger 605 raises the bar
A little more than a year after its start of operations, Luxembourg-based European Air Ambulance (EAA) is more than pleased with the overall performance of its first longrange aircraft, the Bombardier Challenger 605. Along with a brand-new medical cabin, EAA further improves its medical quality and operational reliability.
The aircraft with the registration LX-RHC was purchased after EAA identified a need to expand its capabilities with a long-range aircraft. The key attributes that EAA considered essential when it came to the Challenger 605 were speed and range, along with capacity and space.
The Challenger 605’s outstanding characteristics emerged on several occasions on missions where time was a critical factor. The longest non-stop flight yet performed on EAA’s Challenger 605 was from Linz, Austria, to Montreal, Canada, with a flight time of 8 hours 3 minutes. By using a smaller aircraft, the total journey time for the patient would have been significantly increased, as the trip would have required at least two fuel stops, possibly even three in case of unfavourable weather conditions. The faster the repatriation, the sooner the patients can be transferred to a medical facility that offers the appropriate level of care for their needs, eliminating every potential fuel stop and wasting precious time. Since the start of operations, EAA’s Challenger 605 has been in particularly high demand for transatlantic flights to and from the US, Canada and the Caribbean. Being able to offer worldwide air ambulance repatriations, the Challenger 605 also performed, on behalf of its clients, long-range flights to Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
When it comes to capacity and space, the Challenger 605 enables EAA to carry more patients simultaneously, with flexible configuration options. The additional available onboard space means more room dedicated to equipment. On multiple occasions, EAA’s Challenger 605 was booked by clients who required additional onboard space for relatives and accompanying passengers. The private lavatory and separate luggage compartment, with enough room for the luggage of both patients and passengers, completed the list of advantages of Challenger 605’s spacious cabin.
Although the aircraft was initially delivered with a convertible passenger/ air-ambulance cabin, EAA quickly decided to upgrade the interior to a dedicated air ambulance cabin. Different concepts were developed by EAA’s in-house engineering and medical departments to convert the Challenger 605 cabin into a completely new, dedicated air ambulance interior.
After a short downtime in November 2022 for the installation of the medical cabin, the aircraft was flown back to its home base in Luxembourg, in order to get the medical and flight crews trained and familiarised with the new equipment. LXRHC conducted its first medevac mission with the new cabin shortly thereafter: non-stop from Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, to Ankara, Turkey. With the new setup, EAA’s Challenger 605 is now able to fly, for example, up to two full-time intensive care patients at the same time, or two neonatal patients in separate incubators. Another step forward is the improved redundancy of the vital medical equipment, the electrical power supplies, and a reserve of oxygen with different independent sources. In the upcoming weeks and months, EAA will introduce further services and enhancements that come along with the cabin arrangement. The new equipment will allow some significant improvements when it comes to the transportation of bariatric patients. Moreover, an infectious disease module will be available in the near future.
The Challenger 605 with its newly installed medical cabin is the most recent in a long line of EAA investments in its fleet, equipment, personnel and headquarters. With more than three decades of experience in aeromedical transport, EAA is renowned for the standard of service and quality of patient care.