Feature story Three new MEDEVAC-configured UH-72A Light Utility Helicopters delivered to Fort Polk, Louisiana

October 5, 2009

The U.S. Army Air Ambulance Detachment, 5th Aviation Battalion at Fort Polk, Louisiana, has received three new MEDEVAC-configured Lakota UH-72As for its air medical operations. Over the coming years, this U.S. Army base will replace its entire fleet of UH-1 Iroquois (“Hueys”) rotorcraft with Lakotas.

A pair of Lakotas are shown after their arrival at Fort Polk. The Air Ambulance Detachment, 5th Aviation Battalion at this U.S. Army base is replacing its entire fleet of Hueys with UH-72As.

Major Daniel Moore, commander of the detachment, and his flight crew received the aircraft at American Eurocopter’s state-of-the-art UH-72A assembly and production facility in Columbus, Mississippi, and ferried them back to Fort Polk.

Following his flight from Columbus, Moore praised the speed and fuel-efficiency of the LUH, which travels 20 to 30 knots faster and weighs 11,100 pounds lighter than the Huey. Moore also commented on the ease of loading patients through the UH-72A’s rear clamshell doors, as well as its excellent performance in low-visibility conditions.

"The aircraft is great. It's an all-weather helicopter with autopilot, a glass cockpit and great instrumentation – such an advanced avionic package makes you feel very comfortable flying," said Moore. "These are configured for MEDEVAC operations, so it has racks for medical equipment such as monitors and oxygen, and litter racks for two patients."

By early 2010, there will be six Lakotas at Fort Polk. The last two UH-72As are scheduled for delivery to the base by the summer of 2011.

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