Fox Flight Air Ambulance based in Toronto, Ontario, recently welcomed two Lear 40-XR jets to its fleet of specially configured air ambulances.
“The Lear 40-XR is larger than aircraft we have used in the past, which allows us to deliver improved comfort and service for patients and their companions,” said David Fox, president of Fox Flight. “The longer fuselage provides room for a washroom and extra baggage, which many air ambulances don’t have; and the taller and wider cabin makes it easier for the medical crew to load and unload the patient and provide in-flight care.”
Fox continues to explain the company, which specializes in international medical repatriation, took its time preparing the two Lear 40-XR jets for service to optimize the experience for patients, companions and crew. “First, we designed and fabricated custom cabinetry to store medical equipment, which opens up space for people to move through the cabin and for medical staff to get what they need in-flight,” he explained. “Then our maintenance technicians completed a fuel modification that extends the range of both planes. That means our flight crews have to make fewer technical stops and can get the patient home faster.”
In addition to improved cabin amenities, the company states flight crews on either Lear 40-XR will also benefit from an updated cockpit display and aviation technology. “Our pilots are going to love the 40-XR for a lot of reasons; it definitely provides a more comfortable working environment,” said Katrina Rankine, Fox Flight’s director of operations and chief pilot. “There is a little more room in the cockpit and the instrumentation is completely digital, which is not the case with older aircraft. These planes also have a different wing design that includes a winglet on the wing tip as well as delta wings at the rear, which makes for a softer, quieter ride.”
Founded in 1996, Fox Flight Inc. provides international, 24-hour, emergency medical transport, bed-to-bed stretcher evacuation and patient escort services on commercial flights. Fox Flight employs a staff of fully licensed physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists, as well as experienced pilots and aviation maintenance technicians.
“Aircraft maintenance has come a long way in the last 20 years. With these planes you can hook them up to a laptop and instantly view most of the airframe systems,” said Nick Fraser, maintenance director, Fox Flight. “Then you can use dedicated software to test those systems and troubleshoot problems. On older planes you often have to take things apart in order to get access to conduct routine maintenance and test some systems. These planes eliminate that step.”
Fraser continued to point out that the Lear 40-XRs also benefit from accessible replacement parts: “Newer planes are just more reliable, and they are easier to fix if you do have a problem, so our maintenance staff can keep the planes in the air and available for missions,” he said.