AirCare, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s critical care transportation service, has begun replacing its current fleet of older helicopters with three newer aircraft.

The twin-engine Airbus H135 helicopters offer increased speed, the ability to carry more weight and fly using instrument flight rules, which allow flights in more adverse weather conditions.

Additionally, Wake Forest Baptist is the first air medical service in North Carolina and Virginia to provide whole blood products.

Wake Forest Baptist is partnering with Metro Aviation of Shreveport, Louisiana, to operate and maintain the helicopters, and provide pilots and mechanics. A new operations center will be housed within Wake Forest Baptist’s Winston-Salem campus and connected to the Metro Aviation operational control center.

The helicopters will continue to be based at Davidson County Airport in Lexington, Elkin Municipal Airport in Surry County and Blue Ridge Regional Airport in Henry County, Virginia.