"Shri Ajit Singh, Hon'ble Civil Aviation Minister dedicated India's First Air Ambulance Helicopter VT-ICU, to the Nation at a special ceremony after the inauguration of India Aviation 2012 at Begumpet Airport, Hyderabad on 14th March 2012".


AIR AID - India's First Dedicated Air Ambulance is ready for take off (an article written by Ms Neha S. Bajpai, Principal Correspondent in THE WEEK magazine issue dated 25th September 2011.

A stunning white beauty with a blue band painted along the sides, VT-ICU is the latest eye-catcher at one of the thickly populated, expansive hangars at Delhi's domestic airport.  Complete with a travel ventilator, portable oxygen infusion pump and a defibrillator to fix a weakening heart, this AgustaWestland twin-engine chopper is all set to serve as India's only dedicated helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS).


"In India, it's mostly passenger transportation helicopters and airplanes that are used for make-shift casualty evacuation."  "VT-ICU would be the first and only dedicated HEMS in the country.  We are the only company to be certified for aerial intervention and we plan to employ two choppers for this project."


The project proposes to offer medical aid and air lift accident victims to a trauma centre within the 'critical golden hour', which is crucial in saving lives.  Spacious, secure and comfortable, the helicopters are modified with medical care equipment, space for stretchers and seating for para-medical staff and a family member who would want to accompany the patient. At a time when helicopters are being used in primary emergency medical aid services the world over. "While the US has over 900 HEMS to air evacuate around 3,00,000 patients every year, Europe has more than 1,000 air ambulances," he says.  "In India, we have just started thinking on these lines.  There are many possibilities like tie-ups between hospitals, highway authorities and insurance companies.  The government has a huge role to promote this service."


OSS is planning to roll out the services from Bangalore with two AgustaWestland AW 109s this year.  "I intend to launch the operations from a city like Bangalore, where the government is really keen to promote the service.  There are four private hospitals that are looking at tie-ups.  


Aviation experts say a major hurdle in having dedicated air ambulance services is the huge investment that it demands.  "On an average, an hour of flying in a chopper can cost Rs.60,000 to Rs.80,000, which many patients in need of such a service may not be able to afford.  In the west, insurance companies support the services in a big way.  In India, this initiative needs a lot of government funding and support to take off," says a senior official with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.


Internationally, the concept of HEMS works in tandem with the government's emergency services, hospitals and insurance providers.  The London Air Ambulance, for instance, works on corporate funding and does around 1,000 operations a year.  Initially, insurance companies in the US didn't consider HEMS to be as advantageous but given the direct benefits it provided in terms of cost savings, insurance companies are now more than willing to support HEMS.


"We have waited too long for this concept to take off in India.  Globally, about 15-20 per cent of the helicopters sold per year is HEMS helicopter.  Considering the traffic congestion in the country, one helicopter can easily replace six or more ground ambulances, providing better response time and cost efficiency," said Air Vice Marshal (Retd) K Sridharan, President, Rotary Wings Society of India, the nodal body for the helicopter industry in the country.


Sridharan has been campaigning for HEMS in India for over four years now.  "The idea is to provide people with an effective emergency response.  To be successful, HEMS will require trained personnel including aircrew, paramedics and technicians, as well as infrastructure including heliports, roof top helipads, and refueling facilities. We have been asking companies to include this as an important chapter in their bit of CSR," he says.


Hospitals like Medanta, Fortis and Apollo in Delhi and National Capital Region use air ambulance services but do not have helipads in the hospital premises.  The air ambulances land at the Delhi airport and the patient is then ferried to the hospital in an ambulance.


Having taken the first step towards this initiative, OSS is now looking at initiating facilities like helipads and parking spaces with probable partners, mostly hospitals like Vydehi in Bangalore.  "We will supply the pilots, helicopters and look after maintenance of the machines," he says.  "I have grown 100 per cent on my own and I can grow 400 per cent with the right partners."


AgustaWestland has decided to set up a TRTO in India along with OSS Air.  This is the first time that such a facility will come up at a location other than AgustaWestland's at Italy; UK and USA.


Exchange of documents on 4th June 2010 after signature cementing our partnership with The Govt of  Karnataka's Tourism Department in the  presence of the Hon'ble Chief Minister Shri  B S Yeddyurappa and Hon' ble Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy,  as their exclusive heli-tourism provider.


OSS Air is the first in india to consistently operate from an Elevated helipad. 

OSS Air is also the first to maintain; audit; provide regulatory support & consultancy to India's first operational elevated helipad We have an exclusive arrangement with The ITC Gardenia Hotel in Bengaluru which own's  Indians one and only roof-top helipad.


After the successful completion of flight transition training, our youngest pilot Capt. Naveen Kumar  (27 years), received his "wings" from the then Chief Pilot Capt. Sher Singh and the then Head of Engineering Mr. Ramesh Prasad in the presence of Mr. Eugenio Dalla Rosa, Customer Support Representative from our principals, AgustaWestland SpA, Italy on 26th June, 2010.


In addition to the "CAR 145" approval granted to OSS Air by the DGCA on 30th April 2008, we have now been granted approval for "Continuing Airworthiness Management Organization (CAMO)" with effect from 22nd July 2010, thus enhancing the value and recognition of our maintenance organization.


As part of our quest to enhance our performance and capability the Rotary Wing Society of India (RWSI) has conducted a "Safety Audit" of OSS Air on 9th & 10th July 2010.  This will be an on-going process towards excellence in Operations and Maintenance Management within the company in our effort to deliver the highest levels of Customer Support to Agusta Customers in India.


To demonstrate a casualty evacuation by air, the National Disaster Management Authority of India conducted a mock exercise in Bengaluru on 1st August, 2010 with VT-OSB (OSS Air's Agusta A119 Koala Helicopter which was modified for the event).

OSS Air is importing a state-of-the-art A109E Power  Emergency Casualty Evacuation equipped helicopter capable of operating from an On-Shore Elevated Helipad as well as Off-Shore Oil Rigs.  This helicopter will be  presented to the Nation for the first time at the Elevated Helipad of ITC's Royal Gardenia Hotel in Bengaluru on the 28th September, 2010 during the proposed National Seminar on Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS), being held under the aegis of The Rotary Wing Society of India, India's apex organization of Civilian Helicopter Operators.


Encouraged by OSS Air's recognition as amongst the top 5 Helicopter Operators and Maintenance Service providers along with Pawan Hans; Global Vectra; Deccan Aviation and United Helicharters, your company has embarked on a programme of "reinventing" itself.

Shri P K Chattopadhyay.  ex Joint Director General of the DGCA conducted a 2 day workshop on "Human Error in Aircraft Maintenance - Procedures and Processes on how to avoid it " exclusively for Technicians; Pilots and the Top Management of OSS Air in New Delhi on the 10th & 11th August, 2010.

While commending the achievements of OSS Air in successfully inducting 30 Nos. AgustaWestland helicopters in the Indian Civil Market within a short span of 5 years without drawing on foreign manpower, Shri Chattopadhyay  commented: "Incredible".  No other foreign manufacturer has achieved this in India.  Congratulations to Ramesh Prasad and his dedicated team".


DGCA has qualified OSS Air as the first Operator in the country to have been granted recognition to conduct "Ground Refresher Training for Helicopter Pilots" w e f 12th August, 2010 and also Monsoon Operations Training w e f 09th July 2010.


Capt Punam Bhardwaj ALTP (H), Chief Pilot of OSS Air has been approved  as  the "Check Pilot" on the AW A109E Light Twin Engine Helicopter by the DGCA.


OSS Air has been awarded "B+" Rating for long facilities and "A4" for short  facilities.  A creditable achievement considering the fact that aviation companies are usually rated as high risk enterprises.


We are the only AW Authorised Service Centre for Civil Certified helicopters in India.  We are also an MRO holding CAR 145 and CAR M certifications from the DGCA to maintain helicopters. Our technical team holds approvals from DGCA to maintain multiple types and brands of helicopters.  We have the capability and infrastructure to maintain at Delhi; Mumbai; Bengaluru and Pune currently. However, we can support customers and clients anywhere in India.