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Monroe County, Florida, is turning to the Leonardo AW139 medium twin-engine helicopter for air ambulance support across the Florida Keys. The county recently acquired three AW139s, expected to be delivered in late 2024 to early 2025.
Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay said in selecting the AW139s, the county was looking for a new, manufacturer supported aircraft to replace its aging fleet of Sikorsky S-76s which will eventually be sold.
“The goal was an aircraft that would increase operating cost efficiency and reduce downtime due to unscheduled maintenance,” Ramsay said. “The AW139 is the only aircraft available that will meet Trauma Star’s mission profile, able to fly the distance, carry our payloads, and utilize our current landing zones.”
As a joint effort between Monroe County Fire Rescue and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Trauma Star will operate the aircraft for air ambulance service across the Florida Keys. Mike Rice, chief of Monroe County Sheriff’s Department’s Bureau of Administration, told Vertical two aircraft will be housed at the Sheriff’s hangar in Marathon, Florida, while the third will be operated out of Key West.
The aircraft will be delivered from Leonardo’s FAA-certified part 21 production facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and will be completed by Leonardo. Rice said the aircraft will be able to accommodate two patients and will be configured with the standard equipment typically found in advanced life support ambulances, including blood on board.