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When Every Second Counts

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Tags: NonAutomotive, Markets
Air ambulances complete over 400,000 missions a year in the United States. ZF has been supporting the largest U.S. air ambulance operator for the past 35 years.
Martin Meissner, May 14, 2019
Martin Meissner is Marketing and Communications Manager for Industrial Technology in North America.
Usually it happens in a split second – the moment when everyday life turns into a fight for survival. No matter whether it is the failure of internal organs, such as a heart attack, or a road accident – the clock is ticking. Now every moment counts.

When it comes to medical emergencies, starting treatment as soon as possible within the first hour is a decisive factor in the patient's chances of survival and recovery. Life flights are an important link in the rescue chain. Helicopters not only transport medical personnel and equipment long distances to the patient. They then also ensure the patient gets back to the medical center rapidly and safely.

Biggest U.S. operator of air ambulance helicopters uses ZF technology

Life Air Rescue receives emergency calls any time of day or night. This air ambulance service is operated out of Willis-Knighton Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana. The aircraft must be in the air within a couple of minutes. Its crew comprises a pilot, copilot and a flight nurse. In many other countries across the globe, the helicopter team will also include a physician. Once at the accident scene, the patient is examined and given first aid. Then it is back to the medical center.

Life Air Rescue has been operating out of the Willis-Knighton Medical Center since 1983. It was the first air ambulance helicopter put into service by the still fledgling Metro Aviation Inc. Today Metro Aviation is the largest operator of air ambulance helicopters in the United States. ZF has been supporting the company from day one. "We're ready to fly around the clock", says Milton Geltz, Managing Director of Metro Aviation, adding that having aircraft on ground (AOG) is not an option. "That's why it's vital to have reliable partners." In his business it is imperative to have spare parts on the shelf at all times, ready to ship wherever they are needed.
130 Eurocopter EC 135 and EC 145 model helicopters make up the backbone of Metro Aviation's nationwide air ambulance helicopter fleet. Most of them are fitted with a main rotor gearbox as well as an intermediate and tail rotor gearbox made by ZF.
Intermediate gearbox, important for power transmission to the tail rotor.

Decades of collaboration with Metro Aviation

Tim Ruddick, Head of ZF's aviation business in North America, is proud of the collaboration with Metro Aviation that goes back decades. "We've grown alongside Metro from day one of operations and we're still with them today. ZF is part of the Metro Aviation family, and Metro Aviation is part of ours."