Jim Arthur, CALSTAR’s director of flight operations, said the air ambulance service is very proud of the new aircraft. “The turbine powered aircraft is ‘cabin class’ and will enhance our ability to provide top quality medical care to our patients,” he said.
Tad Henderson, CALSTAR’s chief operations officer added, “The addition of the King Air to our fleet helps us to continue our fixed wing transport growth, but even more importantly it helps us to extend our mission of delivering excellent patient care to a larger population of patients that need our service,” he said.
Headquartered in McClellan (Sacramento)
Previously owned by a corporation for business travel, the Super King Air underwent a four-month major modification to serve CALSTAR’s life saving mission as an air ambulance.
Powered by two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-61 turbine engines, the aircraft boasts a maximum service altitude of 35,000 feet and can cruise at speeds in excess of 330 mph. The aircraft can accommodate two teams of nurses and two patients—either adult or neonatal (infants.) “This airplane’s capability safely provides rapid medical transport not only within California, but because of its speed and cruise altitude, western states within 1,000 nautical miles,” Arthur said.
As part of the modification, according to Arthur, the cockpit underwent a complete upgrade to one of the most technically advanced avionics systems available. Known as the Garmin G 1000, Arthur says “this advanced package includes weather radar, satellite tracking and telephone and traffic alerting, as well as synthetic vision,”
The aircraft also features a power loading system that takes away the need to physically lift a patient or infant isolette.
From time to time, the aircraft will be utilized by medical centers and their medical crews, in addition to CALSTAR’s highly trained nurse/nurse team. “CALSTAR works with area medical centers to provide aircraft and pilot services to a center’s specialty medical teams, for example neonatal teams,” Arthur said. “CALSTAR supports this effort by providing aircraft and on board medical equipment training to medical center personnel.”
“Because this aircraft carries the same advanced life saving equipment that can be found in a medical center’s emergency room, our patients can expect the best in medical care,” Arthur said.
The airplane is expected to be ready for final release for use by September 10.