Luxembourg, 10 October 2013 - European Air Ambulance’s (EAA) members Luxembourg Air Ambulance and DRF Luftrettung have been upgrading their fleet by replacing some of their Learjet 35A with 45XR aircraft.
"The upgrade to the Learjet 45XR is part of EAA’s strategy to increase its capacity and service flexibility", explains Director Sales and Marketing Patrick Schomaker. We are happy to maintain our relationship with what Schomaker calls “a trusted manufacturer” and in the fleet coordinated by EAA there are still four Learjet35s even though three 45XR aircraft have been added.
Wolfgang Guckert, Captain on Learjet 35A and 45XR as well as Nominated Postholder Flight Operations at Luxembourg Air Ambulance appreciates the new aircraft as it offers a number of advantages over the Learjet 35. For starters, it has shorter take-off and landing requirements, allowing EAA to pick up patients from smaller airfields closer to hospitals in certain parts of the world. This also means the aircraft can take off with a higher fuel capacity and using the 45XR also cuts in half, from one hour to 30 minutes, refuelling stops due to a single point, pressure refueling capability. The 45XR offers the same fuel consumption performance and range as the Learjet35 at normal cruise altitudes, but the new aircraft can travel 20 knots faster.
"Greater cabin flexibility also played a factor in the decision to upgrade", says Schomaker. "The 45XR allows us to change between single and double-stretcher and five or six passenger seat configurations. Furthermore, EAA can now carry two intensive care patients as the cabin can be separated between the two stretchers."
A separate flushing toilet facility, greater luggage capacity and higher cabin ceiling provide more comfort to relatives travelling with a patient. The aircraft’s auxiliary power unit permits the pilot to pre-heat or pre-cool the cabin and to maintain air conditioning and electrical power during fuel stops. A digital readout in the cockpit also allows the pilot to maintain a constant temperature in the cabin.
"Indeed, the cockpit is also an improvement on the older aircraft", says Captain Guckert, "the modern glass cockpit has a defogging system that is sufficient for every ambient condition – the 35’s windshield would sometimes have problems at airfields in hot or high humidity areas such as in West Africa."
The cockpit also has four displays and two Flight Management Systems, a feature greatly appreciated by Herbert Kauth also Captain on Learjet 35A and 45XR, flying for DRF Luftrettung. Furthermore the Learjet 45 is equipped with a fixed satellite phone, allowing the crew to be reached by EAA’s mission control anywhere in the world during flights.
Overall, the upgrade is a smart move that “is the perfect fit for our client’s requirements” says Schomaker.