SANTA MARIA - CALSTAR is re-branding itself to make it more identifiable as "the" air ambulance service on the Central Coast.
Its out with the old Bell 222 helicopter and in with the new EC 135 aircraft for CALSTAR air ambulance on the Central Coast.
"We fly it single pilot and we have two nurses in the back", says veteran CALSTAR pilot John Brenner, "we have the ability to fly two patients, right now we're just doing one patient."
And there's a bold, bright new Orange, Teal and White look for CALSTAR to go along with its new helicopter.
"Something that you can see pretty easily", Brenner says about the new colors, "its good for our brand recognition."
The EC 135 is designed for emergency medical response purposes with greater maneuverability and an average air speed of 125 knots.
"Probably the biggest thing you notice is the tail rotor", Brenner says about the unique tail design on the EC 135, "we call it the "fenistron" and its really a safety thing, and over the years its been engineered to be a little quieter, they've offset some blades, that type of thing."
There's state of the art avionics up front in the cockpit and a fully-equipped flying emergency room in the back.
CALSTAR took delivery of two of the EC 135 helicopters in December, one will be based at the Santa Maria Airport the other in Salinas.
CALSTAR is planning to eventually replace all of its fleet in California with the EC 135 so it can continue its life-saving missions during the critical "golden hour" immediately after any traumatic injury.
"My job is simply to get the nurses to the patients", Brenner says about flying for CALSTAR, "and get the patient to the hospital and do it safely and as timely as best we can."
CALSTAR is a private, non-profit organization with air bases across California and in Nevada.
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