Life Link III, an EMS operator in Minnesota and Wisconsin of the United States, signed a contract for a Leonardo AW169 and an AW109 Trekker for air medical transport missions. The new helicopters will provide in-flight critical care and transport patients across the upper-Midwest of the country.
Delivery of the helicopters is anticipated for the fourth quarter of 2021. This order marks the entry of the AW109 Trekker into the U.S. for EMS applications, while also growing the use of the AW169 in this sector.
“The addition of the AW109 Trekker and AW169 will return Life Link III to instrument flight capability and further enhance our ability to deliver safe, fast, and reliable air medical transportation to the communities we serve,” said Lee McCammon, Vice President of Operations at Life Link III. Life Link III operates nine helicopter bases in Alexandria, Blaine, Brainerd, Duluth, Hibbing, Rush City and Willmar, Minnesota; and Marshfield and Rice Lake, Wisconsin.
The AW169 features a 222-cubic-foot cabin and Life Link III will have an FAA-certified EMS interior designed to provide 360-degree patient access. The helicopter can travel up to 440 nautical miles, with a top speed of 160 knots and it can climb to 14,500 feet. The twin-engine Trekker helicopter is equipped with Night Vision Goggles (NVG), single-pilot instrument flight rules, and will feature a customized interior built to meet Life Link III’s requirements.
This sale will increase Life Link III’s Leonardo helicopters fleet to 14 and the company will be the first to operate a mixed fleet of AW119 IFR and AW109 Trekker aircraft.
Leonardo notes both aircraft feature the same core avionics for advantages in terms of fleet management, training, safety, and support. The EMS operator’s existing fleet comprises of 10 AW119Kx have accrued more than 21,000 flight hours.
In addition, in July of this year, Life Link III signed for the first IFR-certified AW119 in the civil market. Leonardo explains this aircraft will enable the company to undertake safer operations in challenging weather conditions. The helicopter is expected to be delivered in the third quarter of 2021.
“The AW109 Trekker and AW169 will be great additions to the EMS operator’s fleet and both aircraft with their high-tech capabilities will enable Life Link III to conduct its operations safely and quickly,” said William Hunt, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters in Philadelphia.
Leonardo share of helicopters in the North American EMS market now totals more than 110 across a fleet of AW119s, AW109s, AW169s and AW139s. Nearly 240 orders for AW169s have been placed by countries including Italy, the UK, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and the United States. To date over 70 AW109 Trekkers have been sold to customers worldwide for a range of roles and over 1,500 AW109 series units have been sold globally for the widest scope of missions.