Airbus Helicopters Logo

About us

Helicopter Models

Sales & Marketing

Optional Equipment


Customer support





Environmental Policy




News > PennSTAR Flight Team Takes Delivery of Two Eurocopter EC135s for AMS

PennSTAR Flight Team Takes Delivery of Two Eurocopter EC135s for AMS

September 25, 2006

The University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) is boosting its four rotorcraft PennSTAR AMS (Air Medical Services) fleet with the delivery of two new American Eurocopter EC135s. UPHS includes the prestigious Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn-Presbyterian Medical Center, and Pennsylvania Hospital which was established as the nation’s first hospital in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond. PennSTAR currently operates two American Eurocopter BK117s and two Agusta A109E helicopters. 
“We are very excited about the single pilot IFR and night vision goggle capabilities of both EC135s” says Robert Higgins, PennSTAR Flight Team Program Director. “The areas where these helicopters will operate are extremely challenging for night flights. The first EC135, PennSTAR 5, will be an addition to our fleet and will be based in Carbon County, PA. 
Carbon County is very rural with mountainous terrain, very little terrestrial lighting, and only a few widely scattered weather reporting stations. The second EC135, PennSTAR 2, will replace our VFR BK117-B1 based in Chester County, PA and serve as Penn's primary aircraft for southern New Jersey. While not mountainous, southern New Jersey has so little ground lighting that it is sometimes impossible to establish a horizon during overcast conditions or on moonless nights.” 
“In the past, we have had to refuse nighttime transports of critically ill patients for safety reasons,” Higgins says. “Now, thanks to the very significant options of IFR and night vision goggles for our CJ Systems EC135 pilots, we’ll be able to perform these missions safely. With the acquisition of these aircraft, the PennSTAR Flight Team will be the only AMS in Eastern Pennsylvania operating five SPIFR certified rotorcraft and possessing night vision goggle capabilities." 
Offering a fast cruise speed of 138 kts, the spacious (pilot plus 6-7 passengers) EC135 can be purchased with two FADEC controlled Turbomeca ARRIUS 2B2 or Pratt and Whitney 206B2 engines. Its twin-engine reliability, open cabin, and substantial lifting capacity make the EC135 “the most effective AMS solution on the market,” says Larry Pietropaulo, CJ Systems Aviation Group’s’ President and Chief Operating Officer. CJ Systems provides flight services and support for PennSTAR and other hospital-based AMS units nationwide using about 120 fixed and rotary-wing aircraft; 41 of which are EC135s. “It’s safe, fast, economical, easy to maintain, and according to our pilots, the EC135 is great to fly!” he adds. 
The PennSTAR Flight Team is an integral component of the University of Pennsylvania Trauma Network which includes the Level 1 Trauma Centers at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, the St. Luke’s Hospital and Health Network in Bethlehem, PA; and the Level 2 Trauma Center at The Reading Hospital & Medical Center in Reading, PA. 
About American Eurocopter (
American Eurocopter is the American subsidiary of Eurocopter, the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world, and EADS North America, the North American operations of EADS, the second largest aerospace and defense company in the world. American Eurocopter markets, sells and supports the broadest range of civil and para-public helicopters offered by any manufacturer.  
The product line represents the most cost-effective, technologically-advanced helicopters, ranging from light single to heavy twin, serving all markets and missions. American Eurocopter's headquarters and main facility are in Grand Prairie, Texas, with a large new manufacturing and production facility in Columbus, Mississippi. 

View the Press release archive.

Rotor Journal image