By Helicopters Staff
STARS Air Ambulance, an Airbus operator for more than 35 years, becomes the first customer in North America to operate the new five-bladed H145. The HEMS organization took delivery of this new helicopter today in Fort Erie, Ontario, at the headquarters of Airbus Helicopters Canada.
This North American-first marks the receipt of STARS’ sixth H145 within the company’s fleet renewal plan and the first five-bladed version to join its fleet. All remaining deliveries will consist of the new five-bladed H145 model and STARS has confirmed it will retrofit its initial five aircraft.
STARS is described as a physician-driven, non-profit helicopter air ambulance organization, transporting patients in need across Western Canada. In 2018, STARS published its fleet renewal plan for a total of nine H145 helicopters, the first of which was delivered in 2019. STARS recently increased its total order to 10 H145 helicopters.
“By renewing our fleet with the H145, we deliver on our commitment to continually enhance the emergency care services we provide, as each life we save makes a huge difference in someone’s family, someone’s community,” said Andrea Robertson, CEO of STARS. “We are thrilled to now be introducing the five-bladed variant, and extend a warm thank you to the Airbus teams for their longstanding support of our critical missions here in Canada.”
The new five-bladed rotor system of the H145 increases the platform’s useful load by 330 pounds (150 kg), simplifies maintenance operations, and improves ride comfort for both passengers and crew. Powered by two Safran Arriel 2E engines, the H145 is equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC) and Airbus’ Helionix digital avionics suite, designed to increase safety and reducing pilot workload.
“I remember when I first came to know STARS operating their BK117s, the predecessor to the H145, some of which we continue to support today, and it’s very special to me to see them taking delivery of the first five-bladed variant in North America, which will provide them with an even better tool to carry out the incredibly important, time-sensitive work they do saving lives every day,” said Romain Trapp, president of the North America region for Airbus Helicopters. “Airbus is proud to continue our support of their fleet renewal process, and we sincerely thank STARS for the trust they’ve placed in Airbus for more than 35 years, that continues today.”