STARS air ambulance officially announced the arrival of its new donor funded AW139 helicopter today during an unveiling ceremony at the STARS Calgary base.
The Calgary-based AW139 helicopter is the second of two new donor-funded AW139s purchased by STARS for service in Alberta, with the first already in service in Edmonton (arrived in Dec. 2012). The helicopters will enhance access to emergency pre-hospital critical care through more rapid response, an expanded service area, a larger medical interior, powerful lift capacity, and a de-icing system that will enable flight during adverse weather conditions.
“The significant financial capital needed to purchase the Alberta-based helicopters initiated the largest fundraising campaign in STARS history, raising over $26.5 million,” said STARS’ President and CEO, Andrea Robertson. “We have now completed the vision of bringing this new helicopter to Alberta thanks to the incredible support of our donors, and partnerships with the provincial government, Alberta Health Services, and emergency services.”
The AW139s cost approximately $16 million each, including $14.2 million for each helicopter, and $2 million for each of the medical-interiors.
The formal presentation included a technical overview of the helicopter, and presentations by STARS president and CEO Andrea Robertson; STARS Founder Dr. Greg Powell; STARS Very Important Patient Michelle Salt, who is aspiring to compete in snowboarding at the Sochi, Russia Paralympic Games; and STARS fundraising campaign chair Craig Stewart. STARS operates from bases in Saskatoon, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Edmonton ,Grande Prairie and Calgary.