Wayne County Hospital was the site of an exciting visit when the long awaited, new Mercy ONE Bell 429 medical helicopter paid a visit. After 3 years of planning, pro-types and development Mercy Medical Center Des Moines took delivery of the $5.3 million Bell 429 last week.
This impressive aircraft is the first air medical Bell 429 of its kind to be put in service in the world. With an average cruise speed of 173 miles an hour it is currently the only medical helicopter in Iowa to use instrument flying regulations (IFR) which will enable Mercy ONE to respond to calls in conditions other air ambulance services cannot manage. The aircraft is equipped with two Pratt and Whitney 207D engines, each rated at 550 HP, and has a maximum gross weight of 7000 pounds.The air medical interior designed by Mercy ONE Des Moines and Air Methods, Inc. of Colorado provides a spacious, well lit, ergonomically friendly working area for up to two patients and four crew members including the pilot. The sleek exterior design is specially designed with a raised tail to optimize access to the patient loading area.
Mercy ONE operates a 17 member medical flight crew with 4 pilots. The visiting Mercy ONE flight crew was quick to express their appreciation of the new equipment and that they can take care of any patient in any situation in this aircraft. (Posted 3/30/10)