European Air Ambulance uses dedicated air ambulance aircraft of the type Learjet 45XR to perform patient repatriations worldwide.
Three Learjet 45XR aircraft, incorporating state of the art medical and technical specifications, are under the exclusive coordination of European Air Ambulance. Two of these aircraft are operated by Luxembourg Air Ambulance and one by DRF Luftrettung. Both operators have extensive experience in the medical air rescue operations; in 2013 DRF Luftrettung celebrated its 40th anniversary, while Luxembourg Air Rescue marked its silver jubilee.
As an air ambulance provider, EAA further coordinates four Learjet 35A aircraft; two operated by DRF Luftrettung and two by Luxembourg Air Ambulance.
The Learjet45XR’s double-stretcher configuration enables the simultaneous transportation of two patients, regardless of their health condition. Even two NACA 5 classified patients, who are in a critical and life-threatening condition, can be transported simultaneously. NACA 5 classifications include multiple traumas, cardiac arrest or traumatic skull injury.
The two stretcher configuration also allow the simultaneous transportation of an incubator and a mother on a stretcher. The configuration of the aircraft can be changed into single stretcher to accommodate one patient and up to four additional passengers. These passengers are separated by a curtain from the patient and have direct access to a separate lavatory with flush toilet.
The stretcher position aboard the Learjet 45XR provides the patient with optimum comfort, even on long-haul flights, and allows medical teams to interact with the patient and to access equipment and medication from anywhere within the dedicated space.
Each of the separate stretcher units are fitted with state of the art medical equipment including vacuum mattress, ventilator, defibrillator, monitoring system, infusion system, blood gas analyser, suction unit and all necessary drugs to safely transport intensive care patients.
The aircraft also carries 12.000 litres of oxygen, providing a comfortable reserve for patients with an increased oxygen requirement, (i.e. in the case of non-invasive ventilation), even for long distance journeys.
EAA missions are always crewed by a specialised medical team of at least one physician and one flight nurse or paramedic. The team can be extended with additional specialized medical personnel, depending on the type and number of patients being transported.
Medical staff on EAA missions must fulfil the following requirements:
- Physician: Specialist status in anaesthesiology, internal medicine or general/trauma surgery or emergency medicine. At least one year of full-time intensive care experience and practice in an ICU.
- Flight Nurse or Paramedic: Minimum four years of experience as a registered nurse working in intensive care and/or anaesthesia and/or emergency room and/or paramedic with minimum five years of pre-hospital and emergency medical work experience and intensive care transport education.
The medical team has multilingual skills: English and German or French are mandatory. Many crew members speak several additional languages such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Greek, Dutch, etc.
The Learjet 45XR requires only a very short refuelling time, the usual fuel stop is +/- 30minutes.
The aircraft can take off from short airfields allowing it to land at airports closer to the hospital and minimizing the ground travel time for the patient.
The Learjet 45XR design incorporates easy and safe loading of patients.
The large cabin space provides easier access to the patient for medical crews and more comfort for patient and passengers. Curtains provide improved hygiene and allow for privacy to separate patients or to provide a cabin for family members, who can use their own separate bathroom facilities.
The aircraft also features an auxiliary power unit to regulate air conditioning in the cabin, even when the turbines are not operating, thus providing additional comfort to patients and medical crews when the aircraft is in stationary mode.