US-based non-profit air ambulance provider Life Flight Network has announced that it will establish a new helicopter critical care transport base in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
The new base is scheduled to open in spring 2022, and will host its own teams of pilots, mechanics, nurses, and paramedics.
The base will augment Life Flight Network’s helicopter and fixed-wing services operations across north-central Idaho, eastern Washington, and western Montana, which operate out of three bases in Lewiston, Idaho and Spokane and Pullman, Washington.
An AW119Kx Koala single-engine rotorcraft will also be permanently stationed at the base. The aircraft, capable of a cruise speed of 244 km/h, with a range of 489km, has the capacity to transport two patients or a full specialty team at once, and is equipped with a Garmin G-1000H cockpit.
The interior is also equipped with a variety of emergency medical kit, including video laryngoscopes, ICU-level ventilators, and emergency blood transfusion equipment.
According to Dominic Pomponio, Vice President of Life Flight Network, plans for the new base were developed in response to the region’s rapidly increasing population, corresponding with increasing demand for aeromedical services.
“By placing an additional helicopter in the North Idaho region, we will have increased capacity to support the area’s growing population and their critical medical transport needs,” he said.
The new base is part of a range of schemes to expand Life Flight Network's operations. The operator signed a purchase agreement for 12 Bell 407GXi aircraft with manufacturer Bell Textron in November 2021. The organization also signed a strategic agreement with fellow aeromedical operator Life Link III in December of that year, formalizing a long-standing collaborative relationship between the two entities.