Light helicopters : Single engine
Airbus’ H125 and H130 are recognized as the single-engine helicopters of reference in EMS missions, particularly in the United States, offering high performance, high availability, excellent visibility, mission flexibility and low operating costs.
Their unobstructed cabins – the benchmark in size among single-engine helicopters – offer open space without partitions, accommodating EMS equipment tailored to customer needs. With wide side-opening doors, the loading/unloading of a stretcher is rapid and simple.
With almost 200 aircraft in service for EMS missions, the versatile and economical H125 is the most popular single engine helicopter in this segment. The H125 transports one stretcher and up to three medical crewmembers and their equipment. Its engine power allows operations in high and hot conditions, as demonstrated by a Himalayan mountain rescue mission performed at 6,900 meters.
With the largest cabin in its class, the H130 has a wide side-loading capability of 2.2 meters, accommodating one stretcher and up to three medical crew members and equipment. The H130 is the only EMS platform in this class to be spacious enough to accommodate two pilots, three crewmembers and one stretcher.
In addition to excellent high and hot performance, the H130 has outstanding visibility, the lowest external sound level in its class, and the safest operation on ground and in flight with a highly efficient main rotor and Fenestron® shrouded tail rotor.
Light helicopters : Twin engine
Airbus’ H135 accounts for some 25 percent of all EMS helicopters flying today with 550 units in service worldwide. For rapid interventions, the H135 is the first choice thanks to its versatile cabin design and its safety.
The large cabin and excellent payload allow secondary hospital transfer flights. Excellent cockpit visibility, compact external dimensions, high-set main rotor and shrouded tail rotor systems ensure the pilot’s safe operation and take-off/landing at any site.
The H135 is offered with a variety EMS interiors, including single-patient, dual-patient or intensive care transport. The aircraft’s anti-resonance isolation system ensures that patients are given the smoothest possible ride in the quietest cabin in its class.
An innovative concept developed by Airbus for its H135 is the Multi-Functional Floor, which eliminates the need for a separate EMS floor thereby saving weight.
The twin-engine H145 enjoys an exceptional EMS heritage thanks to its BK117 and EC145 predecessors. Offering the largest cabin in its class and more payload, the helicopter is perfectly adapted for inter-hospital transfers.
Facilitating access to the H145’s spacious cabin is the helicopter’s high-mounted Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, allowing for safe patient loading through wide sliding doors or the window-equipped rear clamshell doors.
The H145 quickly converts from EMS to other roles thanks to optional equipment such as multipurpose fittings in the cabin. These can be adapted from EMS for other missions such as disaster relief, mountain rescue, and offshore search and rescue.
Enhancements to the H145 include incorporation of the new avionics suite Helionix with a 4-axis autopilot. It is the quietest helicopter in its class.
EMS operations in countries with large, sparsely populated areas require helicopters with a high payload and long range. For these missions, the AS365 N3, the wide-body H155, and the H175 offer the perfect match between a small footprint for helipads, a large cabin, and a smooth ride at high speeds.
The AS365 N3+ and the H155, part of the Dauphin family, offer outstanding cabin space that boosts patient care and accommodates bulky medical equipment. Advanced human machine interface, state-of-the-art glass cockpit and unique Airbus dual digital 4-axis autopilot maximize the pilot’s effectiveness.
Airbus’ new-generation H175 is suited for intensive care transport and medical evacuation, thanks to its large cabin size, airborne endurance, range and useful load.
Worldwide, there are about 50 medium twin-engine Airbus helicopters in service for EMS.
For niche operators who require the most rugged option available, the Super Puma family (H215 and H225) can be equipped with six stretchers for civilian EMS duties and up to 11 stretchers in its military version for casualty evacuation. It is also proposed in a Helicopter Intensive Care Medical Service (HICAMS) configuration.
Private and public organizations rely on this workhorse for their operations over land and offshore in the harshest weather conditions, including search and rescue missions and disaster relief.
EMS in North America
Of the 2,000 helicopters in service worldwide for EMS Missions, around 1,100 of them are in North America.
Operators of the H125, H130, H135, H145, AS365, and H155 range from the United States’ largest air medical transportation providers to regional and local hospitals.
The U.S. Army utilizes the H145 in its UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter for MEDEVAC (medical evacuation) missions.
EMS in China
The H135 is China’s first rotorcraft dedicated to emergency medical missions. This helicopter is used by the Beijing 999 Emergency Rescue Center – a Beijing Red Cross Foundation subsidiary. In May 2017, Beijing 999 signed an agreement for the purchase of one H145, the first of its kind to be configured with a hoist for medical and search and rescue (SAR) in China.
To ensure a smooth and successful initiation of the country’s new EMS operations, Airbus trained the Chinese customer in coordination with leading European air rescue operators.
EMS Thailand and Malaysia
Airbus is invested in offering the best-suited solutions to expand HEMS missions around the globe.
In late 2015, a Malaysian operator received the country's first H135 outfitted for emergency medical services. In 2017, Bangkok Helicopter Services became the first operator in Asia Pacific to receive an EMS-configured H145.
EMS mission news