Airbus Helicopters has partnered with the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation to develop CityAirbus NextGen’s future missions for medical services in Norway. To this end, the parties will jointly measure the added value of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for a selection of medical services use cases across the country to integrate the operational requirements right into the configuration of Airbus’ eVTOL.
Focusing on how eVTOL aircraft can be used for different types of air medical missions, Airbus Helicopters and the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation will elaborate a comprehensive roadmap toward reducing emergency response time through the researched scenarios in Norway. In order to improve patient outcome and the overall performance of the Norwegian Emergency Medical Services system, the signatories will follow a long-term strategic approach to research the complementarity of existing assets, such as conventional helicopters, and eVTOLs when the technology enters into service. This approach could be further expanded in the region through collaboration with other countries to optimise operations beyond the national healthcare system.
Prof. Hans-Morten Lossius, Secretary General of the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation, said: “Airbus’ aviation expertise across the board is a major asset to help us combine different aircraft for medical services. Complementarity is a key driver in this endeavour: helicopters remain essential to perform EMS missions, whilst eVTOLs can bring additional capabilities to support first responders, for instance by transporting medical specialists to accident scenes or organs from one medical site to another.”
Balkiz Sarihan, Head of Urban Air Mobility at Airbus, said: “The Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation has always been at the forefront of medical innovation, most recently with dedicated research to integrate a CT scanner into a five-bladed H145 helicopter. We’re looking forward to working with the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation as a strategic partner to further develop the exact missions where our eVTOL’s capabilities would contribute to protecting citizens and making sure they can access effective healthcare in Norway.”
As a result, the first step toward the creation of a medical eVTOL ecosystem will be the evaluation of the efficiency of the current emergency medical system in Norway, to then simulate different air medical services scenarios, integrating advanced air mobility assets. To develop the right concepts of operations for these complementary air medical missions, Airbus Helicopters and the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation will drive the definition of the foundational elements of the eVTOL ecosystem in the country, including for infrastructure, traffic management and energy sourcing and distribution.
Operating a mixed fleet of H135 and H145, the Norwegian Air Ambulance is Norway’s national Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) operator. With more than 40 years of experience in emergency medical response, the Norwegian Air Ambulance supports pre-hospital care across the country by delivering air ambulance services to provide patients with advanced medical solutions through state-of-the-art aircraft configurations and equipment.