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Penn State adds new Life Lion helicopter to its fleet

HERSHEY — Penn State Health Life Lion Critical Care Transport has a new helicopter in its fleet — the largest medical helicopter in the state.

The Airbus H155 is one of three helicopters owned by Penn State Health. The dual engine aircraft has a large interior cabin, which allows fore more crew members and medical specialists to accompany patients and administer care.

“By regularly updating our aircraft and our capabilities, we increase our capacity to treat and transport even the most critically ill and injured patients,” said Dr. Jeffrey Lubin, division chief for pre-hospital and transport medicine at Penn State Health, in a press release announcing the new helicopter. “We are also committed to maintaining the highest levels of safety and continuing our commitment to providing cutting-edge air medical resources to the communities we serve.”

Since 1986, Lion Lion helicopters have flown more than 40,000 patients in urgent need of high-level care. About 30 percent of Life Lion’s flights are trauma-related, and the other 70 percent are inter-hospital transports of both patients and organs for transplant.

All Life Lion aircraft are equipped with instruments that allow for safe flight in low visibility conditions.

Life Lion Critical Care Transport is backed by the team of specialists, nurses and other staff of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the region’s only Level I trauma center for both adults and children. Life Lion serves south-central Pennsylvania, while also transporting patients to hospitals in other states, including New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio.

As has been the case since for several years, the Life Lion critical care fleet consists of three helicopters and a pediatric ground transport ambulance. At all times, two of the three helicopters are in service, with one stationed at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and one at Carlisle Airport. Both locations are staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Life Lion pilots have an average of 38 years of experience, while the program’s paramedics average 22 years and nurses average 18 years of experience.