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Comparison of kinetic changes during helicopter medical evacuations: civilian versus military flights
  1. Claire Naude1,
  2. Cécile Bujon2,
  3. Salah Boussen3,
  4. Thierry Serre1,
  5. Frédérik Bélot4
  1. 1 Université Gustave Eiffel - Campus Méditerranée, Salon de Provence, France
  2. 2 Hôpital d'Instruction des Armées, Marseille, France
  3. 3 Assistance Publique Hopitaux de Marseille, CHU Timone, Marseille, France
  4. 4 Hôpital d'Instruction des Armées Bégin, Saint-Mandé, Île-de-France, France
  1. Correspondence to Claire Naude, Universite Gustave Eiffel, Salon de Provence 13300, France; claire.naude{at}


Background Helicopter evacuation is crucial for providing medical care to casualties. Previous civilian studies have demonstrated that air transport can enhance survival rates compared with ground transport. However, there has been limited research on specific accelerations during helicopter flights, particularly in military flights. This study aims to analyse and compare the accelerations endured during civilian and military helicopter evacuations.

Methods Accelerations were recorded during evacuation flights from the site of injury to the first medical responders in civilian helicopter EC135 T1, and military Puma SA.330 and Caiman NH90 TTH helicopters. The research investigated global acceleration and compared acceleration distributions along the vertical, lateral and longitudinal axes. A specific comparative study of the take-off phases was also performed.

Results The analysis showed that vertical loads caused the most extreme accelerations for all types of helicopter but these extreme accelerations were rare and lasted for less than 1 s. Military flights show similar acceleration intensities to civilian flights, but accelerations are higher during short periods of the take-off phase.

Conclusions The findings suggest that helicopter evacuations during military operations are as safe as civilian evacuations and highlight the importance of patient positioning in the aircraft. However, further research should investigate the haemodynamic response to accelerations experienced during actual evacuation flights.

  • military
  • public health
  • war/conflict
  • risk factor research
  • prehospital

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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  • Contributors Guarantor: CN. Conceptualisation: FB and SB. Methodology: TS and CN. Validation: TS and CN. Investigation: CN. Writing—original draft preparation: CB and CN. Writing—review and editing: CN. Project administration: FB and SB. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript. They approved that the requirements for authorship have been met, and believe that the manuscript represents honest work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.