Importance of Air Transportation
There are two categories of air transport which are mostly used by air ambulance services worldwide- airplanes and helicopters. Helicopters are more widely used globally due to cheaper cost and versatility in most operations including patient transport and escort. Helicopters also can be categorised into single or twin engine systems. Single engine air transports is economical and lighter, whereas twin or multiple engine air transports is safer and withstand higher loads.
Air ambulance services require air transportation for ferrying a patient or a disaster victim from the incident spot to nearby health care facilities for further treatment. What types of air transportation do air ambulance services deploy? And which type of air transportation is suitable for the patients considering the level of severity of illness or injury?
Generally, there are no protocols, rules or standards that require an air ambulance service to use any standardized air craft or air transport. So basically there are two categories of air transport which are mostly used by air ambulance services worldwide- airplanes and helicopters. There is a variation of airplane sizes in the industry today especially fixed wing aircraft. Moreover, there are two types of engines-single-engine turboprops and twin-engine turboprops which are normally installed in the airplanes. In this case alone, twin-engine turboprops aircraft like Cessna Citation and Lear 35 could achieve higher power compared to single-engine turboprops like Pilatus PC-12. Aside from airplanes, helicopters are more widely used globally due to cheaper cost and versatility in most operations including patient transport and escort. Helicopters also can be categorised into single or twin engine systems. Common models of helicopters which utilize single engine for operations like Bell 206/407 and Eurocopter AS-350 are widely used but have lower power compared to twin engine helicopters like Agusta A-109. Most of the air transports used have proved to be efficient in managing crisis as well as provide medical aid in a safe way.
The types of Air transports air transportation, regarding regardless of the number of engines employed, have their own benefits and advantages to justify their deployment. The advantages of using single engine air transports for operation are:
• It is economical as it requires less power to travel, saving substantial cost of operation for the air ambulance industry.
• It is lighter and hence smaller which can land in smaller area in the vicinity of the incident scene.
However, twin or multiple engine air transports also have their own unique advantage like:
• It is safer when traveling through highlands or mountainous area due to high engine power.
• It can withstand higher load and hence could carry more patients in one particular operation especially tragic cases involving disasters.
Anyway, suitable air transport is to be determined prior to deployment for rescue operation as different emergency cases may require different types of aircraft for medical services as well as the geographical location and severity of the cases.