Photo by Johan Rydham courtesy of Babcock Scandinavian AirAmbulance
The first Leonardo AW169 to fly EMS operations in any of the Nordic countries has officially been entered into service. Babcock Scandinavian AirAmbulance (BSAA) said this week the helicopter, operated on behalf of Region Jämtland Härjedalen in Sweden, flew its first mission Jan. 13.
"It's a big and historic event for us and for the region to finally get airborne — in active duty — with the AW169," said BSAA Production Manager Thure Waplan. "The launch has been preceded by a long period of customization and training to ensure the highest quality and safety right from the start, which means that we are very delighted to start our operations with such a capable helicopter."
The new helicopter replaces the Airbus Helicopter AS365N2. The company had operated that aircraft in the region since 2006.
A long-distance patient transport was the AW169’s first mission. That operation had the aircraft and crew in the air for four hours, BSAA said.
According to BSAA, the base in Östersund is the first of four Swedish EMS helicopter bases that will replace its existing helicopters with AW169s this year. Next to make the transition would be Gällivare, Lycksele and Gothenburg.
At the same time, the BSAA base in Stockholm is upgrading to two new Airbus H145s.