ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo One, a new, state-of-the-art emergency medical helicopter, will be showcased during the Air Medical Transport Conference (AMTC), Oct. 20-22, in Minneapolis.
The helicopter, designed to transfer critical medical and trauma patients in need of rapid transport, is part of a fleet known as Mayo One, which is the emergency medical helicopter service of Mayo Clinic. It is Mayo Clinic’s first American Eurocopter EC145, and has been customized to incorporate many high-tech features along with the latest in safety advancements.
The helicopter will be on display in Booth #102 at AMTC held at the Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis, from Monday-Wednesday, Oct. 20-22.
Building on 25 years of air transport expertise, Mayo Clinic requested many special features that help better serve air transport patients. The critical-care-equipped aircraft cabin, combined with the advanced avionics equipment installed for the pilots, provides a comprehensive, high-tech solution that meets the needs of critically ill patients. The aircraft also includes advanced flight safety features such as night vision goggles and a terrain awareness warning system, both recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration.
“Our goal is to elevate the standards for medical transport, both in terms of medical care and equipment and technology,” says Scott Zietlow, M.D., Mayo Clinic trauma surgeon and medical director of the Mayo One program. “With the introduction of the latest Mayo One aircraft, we have clearly achieved this by taking air medical transport services to a new and unprecedented level.”
Features of the new helicopter include a state-of-the-art medical interior that supplies medical oxygen, suction, and liquid oxygen. Mayo One is equipped with mounts for a medical ventilator, an infusion pump for delivering critical medicines to the circulatory system, a balloon pump (which assists the heart with pumping blood through the body), a defibrillator, and two patient monitors, one of which is a fetal monitor for specialized pediatric transports. The primary patient stretcher is equipped with a rack to allow the patient monitor, I.V. bags, and infusion pump to travel with the patient, eliminating the need to remove the equipment from the aircraft and carrying them alongside. The interior has heated drawers for storing I.V. fluids.
The aircraft is “IFR” (instrument flight rules)-equipped, meaning it can be flown in most any weather, using only instruments when necessary for navigation. The flight displays are computerized “glass cockpit” flat screens. Two highly accurate GPS receivers can determine the position of the aircraft within a couple of meters while moving, and two standard navigation receivers are integrated into the aircraft navigation system. The aircraft also is equipped with an autopilot to reduce pilot workload during critical phases of the flight.
Safety features include two different collision avoidance systems — commonly called TAWS (terrain awareness warning systems), which are fed to a large display, and provide voice guidance to the pilots as well. The cockpit is NVIS-compatible, allowing pilots to fly the aircraft while wearing night vision goggles, proven to increase safety and reduce nighttime encounters with obstructions, according to the FAA. The aircraft also features onboard weather radar as well as a satellite data link for NEXRAD weather displays and aviation weather reports. The flight crew, including the medical personnel in the cabin, can communicate with other ground-based EMS units and dispatch centers with the multiple-band FM communications system.
Additionally, the aircraft is equipped with a satellite-based telephone system, as well as a satellite-based tracking system to allow Mayo Clinic’s dispatch center to track the aircraft’s location in real time.
Omniflight Helicopters Inc. provides the pilots and maintenance technicians to support the Mayo-owned helicopter. They have served in that supportive role since Mayo Clinic first started the Mayo One program in 1984.
“This state-of-the-art helicopter is, essentially, a virtual flying trauma center," says Anthony DiNota, president and chief operating officer. "The air medical services sector has come a long way since its inception and this new helicopter is evidence of the advancements the industry has realized.”