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Satellite phones used for air ambulance services

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Four major North American air ambulance and medical transportation fleets have implemented Iridium for mobile satellite communication services.
“Over the last two years, Iridium has become the top supplier of mobile satellite services for medical transportation aircraft,” says local distributor, Satcomms chairman Anthony Glass.

“Iridium provides gap-free global coverage, meaning that coverage is constant without dead spots, a problem on some networks, and something to be aware of when selecting a satellite phone solution,” says Glass.
He said local emergency services are looking at satellite phones as a more reliable communication medium.
“Emergency services are sometimes dispatched to remote areas where often the only method of communication is by satellite phone,” he says.
Air Methods Corporation is installing Iridium-based tracking and cockpit voice and data communications. As the largest air ambulance service in the United States, Air Methods provides air medical transport services for hospitals and communities in 42 US states.
The system will also supply Iridium-based voice, automated tracking and text messaging services for the California Shock/Trauma Air Rescue (CALSTAR) fleet of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
The move will provide CALSTAR aircraft with continual tracking and communications for its operations in northern and central California.
Ontario-based Ornge, the largest provider of aero-medical transport services in North America, is installing Iridium terminals on its fleet of helicopters and King Air 200 fixed-wing aircraft.
The systems will allow medics to communicate with the doctors in the Ornge operations center and will provide flight tracking and messaging. Ornge has also acquired 15 portable Iridium handsets for additional connectivity when responding to on-scene trauma.
Reach Air Medical Services has chosen Iridium-based AFF and satellite communication solutions for its fleet, including Agusta 109A, Cessna 421C, EC 135 and King Air 200 aircraft.
The integrated systems will interface with Reach’s existing dispatch center computers. Reach joins a number of air ambulance service providers to switch to Iridium and install equipment including Geisinger, Shannon Air Med, BC Ambulance and Air Methods’ REMSA program.
Iridium provides satellite communication services to numerous air medical transport organisations, including Med-Trans, EagleMed, MedSTAR, Air Evac Lifeteam, Japanese Fire and Disaster Management Agency, Deutsche Rettungsflugwacht e.V./German Air Rescue and Luxembourg Air Rescue.