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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Rotorcraft Report: AirEvac Lifeteam Orders First New Bell LongRangers


AirEvac Lifeteam, pressed to expand its fleet and squeezed by the time needed to refurbish used aircraft to do so, has ordered new Bell Helicopter 206s for the first time in its 22-year history.

Air Evac Services, parent of West Plains, Mo.-based AirEvac Lifeteam, shook hands on the purchase of 16 206L-4 LongRangers Sept. 17 at the 2007 Air Medical Transport Conference in Tampa, Fla. Deliveries are to begin in 2009 and run through 2011. (For more news from AMTC 2007, see page 18.)

Until now, Air Evac has relied on refurbished 206s to support its operations and expansion. At HeliExpo this year, the company signed a deal with Bell to develop a 206L upgrade program that would modify 24 of its more than 75 206L-1s and 206L-3s helicopters next year and in 2009. They aim to get certification of the modernized 206L-1+ and 206L-3+ by the end of this year.

But Air Evac President and CEO Colin Collins (shown right at AMTC) said the company can’t refurbish and outfit used 206s fast enough to support its fleet replenishment and growth plans. Hence, the decision to acquire new 206s for the first time.

While the deliveries will extend into the period when Bell expects to begin offering new 206s with the Chelton glass cockpit, Collins said Air Evac will not opt for that configuration.

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