Changing the future of medical aviation

AvatarSponsored Content | November 5, 2020

Estimated reading time 7 minutes, 7 seconds.

Med-Pac’s EMS Lite interior for the Bell 505 is a perfect example of how the company thinks outside the box to meet its customers’ needs.

For the past two decades, Med-Pac has made a name for itself in the air medical industry by thinking outside the box. For president Ralph Braaten and sales and marketing director Elizabeth Hoadley, no project is ever too difficult — no matter how unusual the request.

“Ralph and I take requests from our customers with unique needs for their aircraft or company, and we both enjoy the challenges of designing and creating custom solutions for them,” Hoadley said. “We have designed custom ramps, power loading systems, specialized shelving and medical cabinets, trauma IV poles, power cabinets and much more.”

While many of Med-Pac’s solutions are customer-driven, inspiration comes from within the company, too. 

“I keep Ralph on his toes with my ideas and sketches of new products!” Hoadley continued. “He never knows what I am going to bring him. I dream it, and Ralph makes it reality.”

One of these special projects was the EMS Lite interior for the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X — the latest evolution of Bell’s legendary short light single. The versatile 505 has been a best-seller for Bell, and its attractive price point offers the possibility of expanding the reach of air medical services into new markets. But when Bell asked Med-Pac to design a medical interior for the model, the aircraft’s compact size presented a number of challenges.

Weight was a primary concern. Typical medical interiors weigh hundreds of pounds, but that simply wasn’t an option for the Bell 505, which has a maximum gross weight of 3,680 pounds (1,670 kilograms). To meet their demanding weight target, Med-Pac turned to carbon fiber, generating a product that is rugged and durable, yet weighs just 84 lb. (38 kg).

Med-Pac’s EMS Lite interior for the 505 is based on a wish list from Bell and feedback from the operator community. It comes with a carbon fiber deck, a Kydex floor barrier to protect the aircraft from fluids, and a heavy-duty stretcher with a manual locking bracket and a single-hand release, which allows for simple handling inside the aircraft. The kit also includes a fully equipped trauma backpack, portable oxygen tank and mount, plus an isolation barrier with an embedded map case that separates the patient and pilot.

Crucially, the kit is also quick and easy to install, requiring only a replacement of the seat with no need for any electrical installation. The interior can be put in place in just 10 to 15 minutes, making it ideal for multi-mission operators including government, military, police and fire customers. Because the simple design lacks any cables or complex mechanisms, maintenance requirements are minimal.

The solution was just what Bell was looking for to grow the capabilities of its popular new helicopter model. Explained Matthew Jayne, marketing manager, Bell 505 sales and strategy, “The Bell 505 offers an advanced platform for all airborne medical operators at an unbeatable cost. With a range of 306 nautical miles, the Bell 505 is the only HEMS-capable short light single aircraft in the market with the speed and range to aid global communities and save lives. Medevac pilots can harness the power of the Garmin G1000H NXi integrated avionics system and dual-channel FADEC controlled engine to enhance their situational awareness and reduce additional pilot tasks.”

Jayne pointed out that within the so-called “golden hour” after a patient’s traumatic injury, the Bell 505 can cover over 90 percent of the area of a larger helicopter emergency medical services for nearly 50 of the cost, making it the modern, accessible choice for these types of operations.

Med-Pac’s EMS Lite interior for the Bell 505 has received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, and has also been approved in China. “It’s very user-friendly, and a good option for everyone flying this light-duty helicopter,” Hoadley said. “The response has been so great on this particular style of system that we’re looking at other platforms now.”

The Bell 505 EMS Lite interior exemplifies Med-Pac’s creative, successful approach to achieving demanding customer specifications, something that has set this northwest Minnesota-based company apart since its founding in 2000. With STCs for around 290 aircraft under its belt, Med-Pac has a full line of products ready to meet its customers’ operational needs. But should those customers require something different, Med-Pac is there to assist them — staying true to its motto of Customer Focused and Quality Driven.


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