New app for air ambulance and rescue helicopter service
Safely operating in unknown environments is of paramount importance when the goal is to provide aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger. Eliminating factors that can reduce the degree of safety for personnel, civilians and environment should therefore be prioritised. New technology and digital tools have opened for innovative projects that contribute to this effort. The Norwegian Air Ambulance Services of Norway (NAASN) have recently acquired a valuable new tool for safer landing; with the help of the Landing Zone (LZ) tablet application*.
Helicopter Landing Risks
Performing SAR missions in Norway, a country that has a harsh climate, many isolated landing places and a long coastline, comes with risks. In 2014, an air ambulance helicopter crashed into a high voltage power line at Sollihogda, two members of the crew died as a consequence. In their recommendations, the Accident Investigation Board of Norway subsequently concluded that the overview and use of predefined landing zones, along with associated aviation obstacles, had to improve. The National Air Ambulance Service of Norway’s LZ application and database (LZ North) is a direct response to the Commission’s request.
About the LZ Application
The LZ application aims to increase security and efficiency by providing users with a consistently updated, digital overview over all predefined landing zones and associated aviation obstacles in Norway. The application functions in an offline environment. The rescue personnel can now more easily find safe, suitable landing zones based on geographic name, lat/lon coordinates and ICAO code and get an instant map overview of power lines, masts, street light poles and other known obstacles that can hinder safe landing for the helicopter.
“Our operators are out on rescue missions in all kinds of weather. Safely operating and landing helicopters in conditions where the visibility is poor, either due to darkness, snowstorms or other circumstances, is very challenging. Having a digital tool, this LZ app, that is updated with known landing zones and associated landing obstacles, will contribute to increase the flight safety. A common overview for police, health services, fire and rescue services and helicopter rescue services will improve coordination efforts and increase the safety across all areas”.
Roy Inge Jenssen, advisor National Air Ambulance Services of Norway**
The LZ application is available on iOS and Android mobile and tablets, and allows the helicopter crew to suggest updates to a predefined landing zone or to add a suitable new landing zone site directly from the application interface. Administration of landing zone information, as well as quality checks and approvals of crew suggestions, is handled by the user’s appointed administrator through a web-interface. Once approved, all information is distributed and made available in the LZ application immediately. The LZ solution is available for all health and medical service users in Norway, including Rescue Coordination Centers and medical dispatch centers in order to better coordinate SAR or emergency medical service missions.
*The LZ application is developed by the 100% government owned company Electronic Chart Centre AS (ECC). ECC’s vision is to contribute to greater safety and security, lower costs and enhanced efficiency at sea and on land by rapidly developing technology to fit clients needs. ECC will demonstrate the LZ application on its stand D24 on Helitech International.
**Roy Inge Jenssen, project owner for the LZ app project and advisor in the National Air Ambulance Services of Norway, will be presenting more on the background of the project in the Helitech International Conference Programme session “Search & Rescue- Evolving Technology” on Tuesday 3rd of October from 12:00.
For more information on the LZ App – visit www.LZ-World.com
For more information on Electronic Chart Centre – visit www.ecc.no
Author: Kirsten Elisabeth Bøe, ECC AS.