Airbus envisions HEMS applications for CityAirbus NextGen
By Jen Nevans | March 9, 2023
Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 23 seconds.
Airbus Helicopters has inked a deal with the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation to explore the potential use case for its CityAirbus NextGen aircraft in medical missions in Norway.
“This is a technology with incredible promise. It is 100% electric, [and] it can fundamentally change the way we’re delivering air services in our communities,” Balkiz Sarihan, head of urban air mobility at Airbus, said during HAI Heli-Expo 2023. “When we step back and we think about what would be the best use cases for such a technology, we look no further than medical services.”
The Norwegian Air Ambulance is the country’s national helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) operator, currently flying a fleet of Airbus H135 and H145 helicopters.
“The Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation has always been at the forefront of medical innovation, most recently with dedicated research to integrate a CT scanner into a five-bladed H145 helicopter,” Sarihan said.
Through the partnership, the companies will develop a concept of operations (CONOPS) to outline how eVTOL aircraft can be utilized in air medical operations.
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The work will also involve simulating various air medical scenarios to map out the medical eVTOL ecosystem. Findings will ultimately help inform the aerospace company on the operational requirements that need to be configured in its eVTOL aircraft.
“Airbus’ aviation expertise across the board is a major asset to help us combine different aircraft for medical services,” said Hans-Morten Lossius, secretary general of the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation.
Lossius asserts that “helicopters remain essential to perform EMS missions,” but eVTOL technology can play a complementary role in supporting first responders with the aim to reduce emergency response time and improve patient outcome. This could include using the CityAirbus NextGen to transport medical staff or human organs.
Along with HEMS missions, Airbus is currently working with partners in Germany to develop a CONOPS for urban air mobility passenger services through its Air Mobility Initiative.
Powered by eight propellers and 16 electrical power units, the CityAirbus NextGen is still in development, with Airbus intending to build its demonstrator for first test flights in 2024.