SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - When you see the University of Utah's new $7 million medical helicopter, you may not realize it's any different than the others, but you'd be wrong.
"This new helicopter brings the lastest, greatest technology to the AirMed world," said Rob Stantus, Univ. of Utah AirMed Program Manager.
University Hospital staff tell ABC 4 the new AirMed EC-145 is safer, faster and a lot bigger.
"This new helicopter will accommodate five passengers and two patients, versus before you could only carry three crew members and one patient," said Stantus.
Pilot Jeff Dansie said the helicopter makes it easier to carry patients. It now loads them up from the back, using its own gurney system.
"Which is a little bit faster, and it's able to pull a patient out directly to load them in and out of the helicopter," said Jeff Dansie, Pilot.
ABC 4 Reporter Brian Carlson strapped in to see what the chopper could do, and found out the EC-145 goes where other helicopters can't. It has a twin engine system, and series of auto pilot controls to help it navigate safer through inclement weather and to higher destinations.
"With our old aircraft, it didn't have the performance to land at the top of Hidden Peak which is about 11,000 feet.. this one can," said Stantus.
The next time you need AirMed to pick you up, take comfort knowing the University of Utah has one of the best money can buy.
"Does it have that new helicopter smell?" Carlson asked.
"It does have that new helicopter smell," said Stantus.
When you talk about new, there's a big difference between the new helicopter and the old one it's replacing. The old helicopter has been flying since 1999, but the new EC-145 has only been in the air for 50 hours.
Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @tv_briancarlson