A new Learjet 45 air ambulance plane is now offically part of the DRF Luftrettung fleet, having performed its first mission for the company in August. The aircraft was called on when a patient had to be repatriated from Portugal to a German hospital for surgery due to a medical emergency. After the DRF Luftrettung dispatcher had clarified the medical facts, the crew set off for Faro at 12:45 hrs. On arrival, they took charge of the patient and transported her to Munich that night while giving her intensive care onboard the Learjet 45.
“Our Learjet 45 will most often take off on its missions in a double-stretcher configuration, so that we can always transport two patients at the same time. This allows us to combine patient transports despite tight deadlines, for example if a patient in Tenerife and another in Gran Canaria must be picked up and flown to the same country,” project manager Herbert Kauth explained.
Another advantage of the aircraft, which was purchased in South Africa, is the ease of refuelling: the so-called single point refuelling, which uses a single nozzle for refuelling, to which all tanks are connected, saves time, which ultimately benefits the patient. In addition, the Learjet 45 has a modern glass cockpit with four screens that replace conventional instruments like the altimeter. During the summer months, patients and crew further benefit from a special feature of the jet: an auxiliary power unit – a mini-engine that can also be operated on the ground and allows the cabin to be air-conditioned during waiting times.
To be able to transport patients onboard the Learjet 45, it was converted in recent months for its use as an air ambulance, and new medical equipment was designed and installed. The DRF Luftrettung flight crew also had to prepare for the new jet. The captains and co-pilots were trained and licensed for the new aircraft type in a three-month training course started at the beginning of this year. Finally, the jet was certified by the Federal Aviation Authority and registered in the list of air carriers who have been issued an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC). In a last step, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for medical equipment. With this, the Learjet 45 was ready to take off on its first mission.
Last year, 839 patients were brought home from abroad with DRF Luftrettung air ambulances and those of the LAA (Luxembourg Air Ambulance) under the name of EAA (European Air Ambulance). The flights went to 103 countries. The DRF Luftrettung air ambulances are stationed at the airport of Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden and start from there on their worldwide missions.