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Enloe Medical Center
First EcoStar EC130 T2 Medical Helicopter Mission Ready
CHICO, Calif., Feb. 10, 2015 – Enloe Medical Center's FlightCare Program became the first in the world to use an EC130 T2 EcoStar helicopter as an air ambulance this month. The single-engine aircraft is retrofitted with the latest aviation safety technology and features a more powerful engine, a spacious cabin with new medical equipment, and a quieter sound signature.

"This is an incredible way to begin our 30th year of air ambulance service," said Mike Wiltermood, President/CEO of Enloe Medical Center, an independent, non-profit Level II Trauma Center in Chico, Calif. FlightCare responds to an average of three calls per day within a 75-mile radius of the hospital. It has transported more than 17,000 patients and is California's only hospital-owned and operated air ambulance service.

Enloe selected the EcoStar primarily for its advanced safety features, including an enclosed tail rotor, landing gear that prevents ground resonance, energy absorbing seats throughout and redundant aircraft systems. Its all-in-one digital technology includes features important for the weather, terrain and altitude of the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada Mountains: synthetic vision; satellite weather; GPS and real-time digital tracking; night-vision; and traffic and terrain alert systems.

The large cabin space provides comfort for patients, better patient access for crew and room for new medical equipment: a built-in intercom system for blood pressure and heart and lung sounds; and an Isolette incubator to transport infants.

Marty Marshall, Director of Enloe Emergency Services and FlightCare and a FlightCare pilot since 1985, recognizes the evolution of technology in air ambulance service. "In the early 1980s, the air medical industry was in its infancy and providers tended to cobble together the medical equipment and loading systems needed to care for patients. Our new EcoStar is the culmination of 30 years of trial and error knowledge of what works and what elements are most important for patient comfort and mission safety. FlightCare's EcoStar helicopter was essentially designed from the ground up to incorporate the latest aviation and air medical technology to create a near-perfect platform for our environment."

Enloe purchased the EcoStar for $3.5 million, including customized air-ambulance design, equipment, delivery and training. Due to community fundraising support and with the future sale of FlightCare's former helicopter, there will be no cost increase for patients flown in the EcoStar.