Rogers Helicopters is expanding its emergency medical service (EMS) capacity with the acquisition of its first Sikorsky S-76B medium helicopter.
With delivery scheduled by October 1, the S-76B will join Rogers Helicopters’ dedicated EMS fleet composed of two Bell Helicopter Textron 407s, a Bell LongRanger III, plus a Beechcraft King Air A100 fixed wing turboprop, used for long distance patient transfers. With the exception of one Bell 407 located at Visalia (California) Municipal Airport, the rest of the EMS aircraft operate from Rogers Helicopter’s Fresno Yosemite International Airport headquarters, which is where the S-76B will be stationed.
According to Robin Rogers, the company’s Vice President, EMS accounted for 20 percent of its 2012 gross revenue, and consumed some 2,000 flight hours that year. For 2013, EMS, he reported, is projected to reach 25-30 percent of total sales. At this time, the company operates a fleet of 42 helicopters and six fixed wing aircraft, and specializes in heavy lift construction, power line maintenance support, and aerial wildland firefighting, in addition to EMS.
“It is a growing business, being driven by demand for patient care at hospitals that specialize in treating specific conditions; and insurance companies that want patients to use the most qualified, yet cost efficient facilities,” said Rogers. “Often, that is going to require airlift. The S-76B will increase our inter-facility transport capacity.”
Certified for single pilot, IFR (instrument flying) operation, the S-76B will be delivered with night vision goggle capability installed, as are all helicopters in the company’s fleet. Rogers reported that it was selected over a competing helicopter type, the Bell 430.
“The Bell 430 is very close to the S-76B, although not quite as fast, or as comfortable,” said Rogers, adding that the S76-B is capable of transporting one or two patients, plus a doctor, two nurses, and the pilot, 200 nautical miles at speeds of up to 140 knots. “Our helicopter will be equipped to handle a patient requiring intensive care during transport, as well as neo-natal care in large cabin comfort. In fact, our medical department found that when comparing the Bell 430 with the S76-B, they found that its cabin was more comfortable for the mission.”
Rogers Helicopters is a member of the American Helicopter Services and Aerial Firefighting Association (AHSAFA), the Washington, DC-based trade association representing the commercial operators of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft engaged in aerial wildland firefighting.