STAT MEDEVAC, a Manassas, Virginia-based helicopter emergency medical service (EMS) operating in western Pennsylvania, has signed a deal with Satellite Technology Implementation to set up a network of 13 global-positioning-system (GPS) approaches at remote hospitals.

Installation of the US Federal Aviation Administration approved GPS approaches will allow helicopter access to rural medical sites during periods of poor weather.

A Flight Safety Foundation report has found that, although the safety of medical-evacuation (medevac) helicopter flights has improved, partly because of the greater use of twin-engined helicopters with auto-pilots and full instrument-meteorological-conditions cockpits, the fatal-accident rate is still above the national average. It has also determined that accidents usually happen "in adverse weather".

STAT MedEvac says that use of the GPS will allow it to increase productivity of its seven EMS helicopters by as much as 20%.

Source: Flight International