OSF Life Flight, a part of OSF HealthCare, has announced a significant expansion of its medical helicopter services to the region around Peru. Starting this month, Life Flight is staging one of its four new, state-of-the-art helicopters at its Peru base at the Illinois Valley Regional Airport – Walter A. Duncan Field on a full-time basis. This helicopter will be available to the area for emergency transport 24 hours a day. Previously, the OSF helicopter based in Peru was only available for medical transport on a part-time basis.
This past summer, OSF Aviation upgraded its fleet with four American Eurocopter EC 145 helicopters. These models are considered by many industry experts as the top medical helicopters available today. Each helicopter has the capacity to transport two patients, if necessary, as well as two pilots and two members of the medical crew. Navigation features on the new helicopters include Wide Area Augmentation System GPS ‑ an improvement in accuracy and capability over traditional GPS, Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning Systems, and a Traffic Collision Avoidance System. The helicopters are also equipped with a system to detect lightning strikes in the area, a satellite system that allows the aircraft to be tracked at all times in flight, night vision goggles, and more.
“We are excited to be operating on a 24-hour basis in the Peru area,” said Brent Grady, executive director, OSF Aviation. “Our patient volume has grown such that we needed to be available to this region around the clock. The new EC 145, with its unparalleled safety features, allows us to take two patients, lift more weight when needed and has the cabin size and power to haul specialty transport teams. We look forward to working with the hospitals and EMS agencies in and around the Interstate 80 corridor full-time.”
OSF Aviation, which operates Life Flight in Peoria and Peru and Lifeline in Rockford, is the busiest medical helicopter transport service in Illinois, with more than 2,200 transfers a year. Helicopters in Peru, Peoria and Rockford are available to respond to medical emergencies 24 hours a day. OSF Aviation has a medical staff of 38, 14 pilots, seven mechanics and five communications technicians.