New Life Lion helicopter makes home in Lancaster

Cris Collingwood//March 7, 2023

New Life Lion helicopter makes home in Lancaster

Cris Collingwood//March 7, 2023

Penn State Health Life Lion Director Keith McMinn speaks during the unveiling of the new Life Lion helicopter at Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center on March 6 – Photo courtesy of Penn State Health

Penn State Health Life Lion Critical Care Transport is taking up residence at Penn State Lancaster Medical Center in East Hempfield Township. 

The newest aircraft joins a fleet of three other helicopters to provide closer medical air and ground transport coverage for Lancaster County and the surrounding region, Penn State Health said. 

“Regularly updating and expanding our equipment reinforces our ability to provide the highest-quality care for critically ill and injured patients,” said Keith McMinn, director of Penn State Health Life Lion. “Adding a new helicopter to our fleet allows us to increase our capacity to provide leading-edge medical care to the region.” 

The helicopter is an H155 model, developed by Airbus as part of its Dauphin family of helicopters. It is the same model as the last helicopter to join the Life Lion fleet in 2018.  

Life Lion now has the two largest aeromedical helicopters in the state, equipped with large interior cabins that allow for advanced lifesaving equipment and space for crew members and medical specialists to administer care, Penn State Health said. All four Life Lion aircraft have two engines and are equipped with instruments that allow for safe flight in a wide range of conditions, including low visibility. 

Life Lion operates two other bases, one on the campus of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and one at Carlisle Airport. All three locations are staffed by trained, highly specialized crew members including flight nurses, flight paramedics and pilots as well as a skilled and experienced in-house maintenance team.  

Communications specialists familiar with the region facilitate communication and continuous real-time tracking during all transports from the Life Lion Communications Center located at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.  At any given time, three of Life Lion’s four helicopters are in service while the fourth is undergoing scheduled maintenance. 

“Safe air transport when moments count is a key component of high-quality emergency medical care, and adding a base for it here reflects our commitment to being close to our patients when they need us most,” said Dr. Michael Reihart, director of emergency services at Lancaster Medical Center.