LifeFlight Program Features | Emergency Transport Services

Program and Features

EC 145

The current LifeFlight helicopter is an American-made Eurocopter EC 145. This model was introduced in 2009, and is the same model used by other major medical institutions across the county. This model has a reputation for safety and efficient medical transport.

Features of the EC 145:

  • Spacious cabin allows for full-patient access optimizing care delivery.
  • Ability to carry two patients.
  • Ability for a family member of a patient being transported to ride along. 
  • Three crew seats to enable crew mix configuration to meet specific patient needs.
  • Powerful twin engines with maximum cruise speed of 167 miles per hour.
  • Modern glass cockpit with night vision goggle capability, terrain avoidance warning system and IFR capabilities allowing for safer transport in various weather conditions.

LifeFlight's helicopter is owned and operated by Air Methods.

Fixed Wing Airplane Transport Service

UnityPoint Health LifeFlight, in partnership with Air Methods Corporation, provides a Fixed Wing airplane service into and out of Iowa for neonatal, pediatric and adult patients suffering from medial or trauma related illness. 

A Pilatus PC12; capable of traveling 3-4 miles per minute and in inclement weather will be staff 24/7. Primarily, fixed wing transport is used for long distance transports (over 150 miles), during adverse weather events or when rotor wing may not be the most appropriate means of transport. Services are available now.

On-Board Blood Program

LifeFlight is the only transport program in Iowa, and one of a couple in the Midwest to provide blood and plasma to patients every flight.                         

LifeFlight will have available both O negative Packed Red Blood Cells (PRBC's) and AB Plasma, understanding that only a small fraction of our total patient population will require the emergent administration of these products.  The recipients of this will have benefits that will be long-lasting.  

The purpose for this pursuit was to reduce our reliance on referring facilities, speed the administration of products, and improve patient outcome.  In this pursuit, we learned many of our referring hospitals have 0-4 units of O negative blood available any given day. Additionally, they have zero units of Plasma available in the thawed and ready state.  The fastest any referring hospital could provide Plasma was approximately 45 minutes, in ideal conditions.