A brand new $13 million H145 helicopter has joined the fleet at the STARS Grande Prairie base.
Senior Municipal Relations Liaison Glenda Farnden is so glad to be able to celebrate the new helicopter with the community, as without its support STARS would not be able to provide air ambulance service to the area.
“We’ve progressed so much since we first arrived in Grande Prairie. We’ve been able to tackle a fleet campaign and replace helicopters in the province. It will help take us into the future decades and generations to come. Municipalities, the provincial government, and the federal government were all very supportive. So many companies and people have been involved and we’re very grateful,” she says.
Farnden says replacing the older fleet was something that simply needed to be done, as parts are not available for the older helicopters and they were becoming dated.
“Our response teams are so excited to have the new H145 helicopter here. The difference is really night and day. It’s like taking a 30-year-old car and comparing it to a brand new one. The technology is incredible too. The long weekend was once again our busiest of the entire year,” she adds.
STARS has also received the ninth new H145 helicopter for their new fleet in Alberta and expects to receive the tenth by the coming fall.
Pilot Geo Rawlins was the person who was responsible for flying the new helicopter into Grande Prairie.
“The technology is amazing. Having it so integrated into this aircraft results in a better performing helicopter, improves safety for those on board, and overall efficiency. It was a huge honour to be able to fly it in here,” he says.
Rawlins is thrilled to be able to be just a small part of life-saving missions for STARS.
“I came from the commercial industry and worked for an organization that was like STARS. It’s very rewarding and I still am humbled by the amazing crews we carry in the back. Watching them work is truly heart-melting.”
STARS has undertaken a $138 million capital campaign since 2018 to replace the older fleet of helicopters.