EpiShuttle isolation pods certified for use on Bombardier 600 aircraft


German Air Ambulance operator FAI has obtained supplementary type certification for the installation of EpiShuttle medical isolation pods on Bombardier Challenger 600 series aircraft.

The STC was issued for the EpiShuttle, an isolation pod which is used to quarantine infected patients during a flight, after a comprehensive series of tests on flammability, rapid decompression, and patient evacuation.

FAI  installed the EpiShuttle in a Bombardier Challenger 604 on a Spectrum Aeromed MedBase with a fixed adaption to a Spectrum Aeromed Cargo Stretcher and the equipment is no longer considered to be “loose equipment” compared to other mobile medical equipment. Due to this FAI wanted to obtain an STC for the CL-600-2B16 aircraft that included the EpiShuttle.

“We are glad to see that FAI has obtained STC for the CL-600-2B16 aircraft, an excellent aircraft for the transfer of infected patients with the EpiShuttle. We appreciate all time and resources the brilliant team at FAI Air Ambulance has put into the certification process. This shows that the EpiShuttle meets the requirements for an STC,” said Ellen Cathrine Andersen, CEO of EpiGuard, the company which makes the EpiShuttle.

Certification tests

The tests were conducted in coordination with EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) and a development company which defined the requirements for the STC and the necessary test procedures.

Nico Raab, medical operations manager at FAI Air Ambulance said,”The EpiShuttle went through comprehensive and challenging tests during the certification process. All of the test procedures were carried out without any complaint and the STC was issued and granted by the EASA.”

The EpiShuttle had to undergo three different tests during the process, flammability test, rapid decompression test and patient evacuation.

The flammability test examined how easily the built-in material ignited, how quickly they burn and how they react when burned. The tests showed that there was neither combustion or smelting or drop formation in the test bodies.

Second, they tested the behavior of the EpiShuttle in the event of a sudden drop in pressure, a so-called rapid decompression test. In the event of a sudden drop in pressure in the aircraft, it must be ensured that all components can withstand the forces acting in order to avoid contamination of the environment.

The behavior of the EpiShuttle were also tested and simulated in a pressure chamber in an approved test laboratory. The test showed no damage or functional restrictions on the components of the EpiShuttle nor the attachments.

The last test the device had to undergo was a patient evacuation. According to specifications, it had to be possible to evacuate a patient within 90 seconds in an emergency. During the test the patient was evacuated by FAI employees within 56 seconds.

After the employees and the device had completed all the test, EASA concluded that it met all the requirements and without any complaints.

FAI Air Ambulance invested a total of €57,000 (US$65,000) in the testing.

“The certification make way for STC on the CL-600 on other continents as well it also shows that it is possible for other companies and aircrafts to obtain an STC,” added Andersen.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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