Rapid City Regional Hospital gets new helicopter ambulance - KOTA Territory News

Rapid City Regional Hospital gets new helicopter ambulance


Friday at the Rapid City Regional Hospital helipad, a new addition to Black Hills Life Flight program landed for the first time.

The new features on the AS350B3+ model helicopter will allow pilots to reach patients up to 20 minutes sooner.

The new helicopter has a duel hydraulics system, something Air Methods Senior Lead Pilot, Larry Begley, says gives him and others a sense of comfort while in the air.    

"If one system fails we have a backup," said Begley. "That really take a lot of the pressure off the pilots and the crew, they don't have to worry about that even though the hydraulics failure was never a big deal, this is even better."  

The hydraulic system also adds weight to the aircraft, allowing the crew to fill the fuel tank to full capacity and not have to refuel.

Because of previous regulations crews could not fill the fuel tank all the way.

Rapid City Regional Hospital Patient Care Vice President. Rita Haxton, says the speed of the new model goes beyond the scope of the previous helicopter.    

"What's occurred before this is there would be a local ambulance that would go out and treat that person and then that ambulance would travel a certain distance and they'd make an arrangement for when the helicopter could pick them up," said Haxton.  

The previous model had been used at RCRH since April of 2008.

The total cost of the new helicopter is around $3 million, and it's flight time is only 11,000 hours.

It's the only model to have landed on top of Mount Everest.

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518 St. Joseph St.
Rapid City, SD 57701

Telephone: 605.342.2000
Fax: 605.342.7305

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