Tad Henderson, CALSTAR’s chief operations officer, echoed Arthur’s comments by saying, “The addition of the King Air to our fleet helps us continue our fixed wing transport growth, but even more importantly it helps us extend our mission of delivering excellent patient care to a larger population of patients that need our service.”
Powered by two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-61 turbine engines, the aircraft boasts a maximum service altitude of 35,000 feet and it can cruise at speeds in excess of 345 mph. “The altitude and speed combination offers non-stop service to destinations in excess of 1,000 nautical miles,” Arthur said.
The airplane was previously owned by a corporation for the purpose of business travel and is presently undergoing a conversion process to serve CALSTAR’s life-saving mission as an air ambulance. According to Arthur, upgrades include medical crew seating for four and advanced life support equipment designed to carry up to two adult patients or two neonatal incubators.
Arthur added that the cockpit is undergoing a complete upgrade to one of the “most technically advanced avionics systems available: the Garmin G 1000.” This advanced package includes weather radar, satellite tracking and telephone and traffic alerting, as well as advanced GPS capabilities and synthetic vision.
Arthur further noted that as an additional convenience to CALSTAR’s medical center clients, the aircraft will be equipped with a powered loading system that will greatly enhance the safety and efficiency of loading patients that are immobilized on a gurney.
The Super King Air will be placed into service immediately following the air ambulance conversion process. “We anticipate an August 1 completion date,” Arthur said. The airplane will replace a Cessna 421B aircraft that CALSTAR presently operates.
CALSTAR, the largest non-profit air ambulance provider on the west coast, has nine bases and serves a wide ranging area from Santa Barbara to Mendocino to South Lake Tahoe. It has been in business for 29 years and has completed more than 45,000 flights without a single injury to a patient or crew member.
The company is headquartered at McClellan Park in Sacramento.