A MICHIGAN-based air-medical helicopter operator has introduced a vehicle-location and patient-information datalink produced by Canadian company AVL Information Systems. The equipment is used to relay aircraft position and patient condition back to the dispatch centre, where it is displayed on a workstation.

A helicopter operated by Omni-flight for MMR Ambulance of Saginaw, Michigan, is the first to be equipped with the AVLIS unit, which is already in use to track ambulance and police-vehicle fleets. Sarnia, Ontario-based AVL says that the system automatically reports position, based on distance travelled, and vehicle and patient information when specific events occur or preset limits are exceeded.

The helicopter is equipped with a Trimble global-positioning system. MMR says that it has proved able to report location in real time from as much as 250km away from the the dispatch centre. AVL says that it is now responding to several requests for proposals for vehicle-location systems from police helicopter units.

Source: Flight International