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DESIGN Air medical interiors haven’t changed radically in recent years, but they’re steadily getting lighter and better tuned to customers’ needs. By James Paul Wallis When it comes to developments in helicopter medical interiors, it’s a case of evolution rather than revolution. The speed of innovation is governed in part by the cost and time involved in putting designs through the regulatory approval process, and also by the benefits to operators of having uniform designs across their fleets. That said, there has been innovation in aspects such as materials and lighting as producers and customers of air medical interiors continue to seek lighter, more effective solutions. 64 VERTICAL 911 magazine LIGHTWEIGHT MATERIALS Reduced weight continues to be a key feature that customers look for in an air medical interior, according to Hans Bretscher, vice president and general manager at Aerolite America. The company has put its efforts into developing lightweight interiors and components to satisfy this demand. “Complete HEMS [helicopter emergency medical services] interiors for light twin helicopters that are currently implemented are below 150 kilograms/330 pounds,” he said. “Where hot- and-high search-and-rescue capabilities are prevalent, complete interiors weigh around 100 kg/220 lb.” As Matthew Christenson, vice president and account executive at Spectrum Aeromed, explained, weight savings allow a crew to carry more medical devices or more fuel, which can change what they can do. And while the majority of components in medical interiors continue to be produced from machined aluminum, Spectrum Aeromed has been using carbon fiber in its medical interiors for several years. As an example, the company employs carbon fiber to make light, durable helicopter flooring. The company is exploring additional applications, said Christenson; the next step would be to do more with the main base unit of the stretcher. Alongside the potential for significant weight savings, he noted that using carbon fiber