Australian medical flight service unveils electric air ambulance
CareFlight partnered with AMSL Aero to develop the "Vertiia," an electric vertical take-off and landing medical aircraft with a cruising speed of 300 km (about 186 miles) per hour
By Laura French
AUSTRALIA — An Australian medical flight service and electric aircraft company unveiled an electric air ambulance in Sydney last week.
CareFlight partnered with AMSL Aero to develop the "Vertiia," an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft with a cruising speed of 300 km (about 186.4 miles) per hour that can travel up to 250 km (about 155.3 miles) on electric power and 800 km (about 497.1 miles) on hydrogen power, according to a press release.
The Vertiia was unveiled on Wednesday at CareFlight's hangar in Sydney, with support from AMSL Aero's project partners, including the University of Sydney. Speakers at the launch event included Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, who is also the minister for Infrastructure, Transport & Regional Development.
"Vertiia will instantly enable greater access to medical services for vulnerable remote, rural, and regional communities, offering new models for care through rapid and low-cost connectivity," said AMSL Aero Co-Founder and CEO Andrew Moore, in a statement. "Unlike aeromedical planes that require a runway, Vertiia will carry patients directly from any location straight to the hospital, significantly reducing the complexity and time transporting vulnerable patients. It will also be quieter and safer than helicopters, and will eventually cost as little as a car to maintain and run, transforming aeromedical transport into a far more affordable, accessible, safer, and reliable option."
Moore noted that Australia's low population density and expansive geography make technology such as the Vertiia especially valuable to the country, and added that the aircraft could be used to airlift people during bushfires.
The partnership between CareFlight and AMSL Aero was funded with part of a 3 million Australian dollar ($2,207,265) Cooperative Research Centres Project grant from the Australian government, for a two-year collaborative project with the University of Sydney and Mission Systems, a company that develops sensing and autonomy technology.
"The advances in aeromedical services capability Vertiia promises will transform patient outcomes in vulnerable regional and remote communities. The safe and efficient new technology will enable CareFlight to provide the best clinical care for more Australians than has ever been possible, and importantly, get them that vital help much faster," said CareFlight CEO Mick Frewen, in a statement.
Vertiia is currently being built at AMSL's aerodrome at Bankstown Airport, with test flights planned to take place at its facility in Narromine Airport in New South Wales. The project participants hope to deploy electric air ambulances within a few years, with CareFlight pilots operating the first aircraft.