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UT Health East Texas Air 1 reveals new helicopter design, uniforms New way to transmit patient data and new tracking system

Tyler, Texas (July 23, 2018) UT Health East Texas Air 1 revealed their new helicopter design and uniforms today, during a celebration at UT Health Tyler, along with new state-of-the-art technology that enables flight paramedics to transmit patient data to the hospital and a safety tracking system.

“The Outerlink Iris System is a next generation satellite communications system that will enable our operations center in Shreveport, Louisiana, to keep a pulse on what is happening in the cockpit and alert our pilots to any warnings or help them perform any system checks,” said John Smith, CEO of UT Health East Texas EMS/Air 1. “We are proud to have a 33-year history of providing safe flights to patients in East Texas.”

In addition, the system allows paramedics to use Wi-Fi to transmit vital data such as EKGs and photographs back to the hospital. “This technology is especially helpful with stroke or heart attack patients, so the physicians can start planning the next course of action,” said Smith. “The system is HIPAA compliant, ensuring patient privacy is protected.”

“We are excited to add this technology to our helicopters as we rebrand them with the new UT Health East Texas Air 1 logo and colors,” said Moody Chisholm, president and CEO of UT Health East Texas.

UT Health East Texas Air 1 is an important part of our emergency system ensuring critical patients arrive quickly at UT Health Tyler’s Level 1 Trauma Center; within the ‘golden hour,’ significantly improving their chances for recovery. The rebranding of our helicopters and flight team uniforms under UT Health East Texas is exciting. We want people to recognize UT Health East Texas and our continuing commitment to serving the region.”

UT Health East Texas Air 1 (formerly ETMC) began providing emergency helicopter service in 1985. UT Health East Texas Air 1 has three, EC-135 helicopters stationed in Athens, Henderson and Pittsburg to cover the East Texas region more efficiently. Most transports in the Tyler area come to UT Health Tyler’s Level 1 Trauma Center by ground ambulance.

UT Health East Texas Air1 employs 16 flight nurses and 13 flight paramedics.

“Our company is very proud of the high standards of excellence we provide in East Texas,” said Smith. “UT Health East Texas Air 1 is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Air Medical Transport Services.”

UT Health East Texas Air 1 partners with Metro Aviation, Inc., a pioneer and leader in the air ambulance industry to provide emergency helicopter service.

Interesting facts about Air 1

  • It took six week to repaint Air 1 as the helicopter has to be completely taken apart, put back together and undergo rigorous testing to make sure it’s ready to be back in service.


  • Air 1 uses 1 gallon of gas every minute.


  • Air 1 flies 150 miles per hour.


  • Air 1 has flown over 40,000 flights since 1985.


  • Air 1 is a high-tech helicopter equipped with terrain avoidance, color weather radar, night vision goggles and auto-pilot.


  • Air 1 now has Outerlink Iris System which uses Wi-Fi to send patient data to the hospital and allows the operations center to see what is happening in the cockpit.


  • Pilots must have 2500 hours of flying time


  • Air 1 was the first program accredited by Commission on Accreditation of Air Medical Transport Services in 1994.


About UT Health East Texas

Formed in 2018 through the combination of East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System (ETMC) and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (UT Health Northeast), UT Health East Texas provides care to thousands of patients each year through an extensive regional network that includes 10 hospitals, more than 50 physician clinics, the Olympic Plaza Tower, 13 regional rehabilitation facilities, two freestanding emergency centers, regional home health services covering 41 counties, an EMS fleet of more than 50 ambulances and four helicopters, and a comprehensive seven-trauma center care network, including a Level 1.

As a partner with The University of Texas System, UT Health East Texas is uniquely positioned to provide patients with access to leading-edge research and clinical therapies while training and educating the next generation of physicians and other health professionals. The nationally recognized UT System also includes UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, as well as three other major university medical centers located throughout the state.