The Survival Air Stretcher is a next-generation medical transportation device that enables a rescuer to quickly and safely transport an injured person away from an active combat site. It allows for evacuation through quick assembly (4 to 6 seconds inflation time) and transport of an injured person via ground carry or air transport recovery. The Survival Air Stretcher uses an inflatable process that makes for light weight but sturdy evacuation. Its honeycomb fabric is waterproof, fire resistant, and holds the person in a cocoon-like reinforced structure. This air stretcher allows for easy storage in a backpack and can be carried by one individual. Once assembled and occupied with an injured person, the air stretcher can be retrieved via helicopter or optionally via air/vehicle VTOL/UAV drone that is now in development. After use, the air stretcher can be used for additional stretcher recovery or quickly deflated, rolled up and stored in a tote bag the size of a shoe box.
The air stretcher's optional Face Portal Shield contains a health vital signs wireless monitor and an embedded video cam that allows the injured person to talk with the nearby rescue medevac helicopter or medical facility. The shield is designed for use as a two-way transparent glass monitor. It is a real-time interactive display monitor and can transmit a visual of the injured person’s face along with their vital signs information. The displayed information can be seen by the rescuer (both local on the ground and wirelessly remote) and to the injured person.
Combining sensors, analytics, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery system, a solar array, and a 900MHz or 2.4GHz radio, the Face Portal Shield transmits and displays information on the monitor. The shield's sensors attach to the injured person's neck (carotid artery) and ear plugin while continuously sensing and analyzing blood pressure, heart rate pulse, and respiration. Running for up to 90 hours on a single battery charge, the life signs are displayed on the transparent shield and a LED indicator moves from green (stable), yellow (deteriorating) and red (expiring) as the shield’s processor chip and program analyzes the vital signs. This monitor light assists the triage process for sorting multiple injured people into groups based on their need for or likely benefit from immediate medical treatment and evacuation.
The Face Portal Shield is inserted and zipped into the open flaps around the head of the stretcher. The shield’s base can be locked into the stretcher’s fabric wings at the top of the stretcher’s anchor zipper and fits snugly onto the stretcher head. At the bottom of the air stretcher, foot flaps can be opened or closed via embedded zippers.
AirShip's Survival Air Stretcher’s Face Portal Shield is partially and/or fully detachable from the stretcher, but is fitted in place for facial protection and to monitor and transmit an injured person’s vital signs. The shield is equipped with vital signs sensors, a wide air vent and can protect the injured person's face from debrie during ground transit or helicopter lift. It is useful for both ground and surface water rescue because the air stretcher is waterproof and can float.
The air stretcher uses airtight zippers for the center wing flaps, the bottom foot flaps, and the side air evacuation flaps. The main center flap zipper and bottom foot flap zippers are airtight zippers built like a standard toothed zipper, but with the zipper teeth wrapped in a fabric-reinforced polyethylene sheeting. The sheeting is then crimped around each zipper tooth using a C-shaped metal clip. As the zipper is closed, the facing edges of the plastic sheeting are pressed together between the C-shaped clips, both above and below the zipper teeth.
The side air evacuation zippers are airtight, water-resistant zippers similar in construction to a standard toothed zipper, but includes a molded plastic ridge seal similar to the mating surfaces on a ziploc bag. Used to quickly deflate the air stretcher, these left and right zippers are easy to open and close and the slider has a gap above the zipper teeth for separating the ridge seal. Since these zippers are on the stretcher's upper lateral sides, there are no internal acute pressures pressing against these evacuation flaps and they are structurally sound. Otherwise, the zippers would simply flex and spread apart, potentially allowing air to escape unexpectantly.
A Survival Air Stretcher loaded on an AirShip vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) could do a lot to eliminate the kind of wait time that medevac helicopters have to undergo until they have armed escort support. The UAV drone is pilotless, does not require an armed escort, and does not place helicopter crews at risk. Wounded specialist Chazray Clark died after waiting for a medevac to arrive with a required armed escort. Did military rules cost a soldier his life? - CBS News
AirShipTG has three versions for its VTOL UAV drone transport vehicles. The ‘V9’ air/vehicle (InnoCentive Challenge ID: 9932701 Special Operations Transport) is designed to transport two people and their equipment with a total maximum payload of 1,000 pounds. The design includes in-flight slide forward or slide aft doors that allow for in-flight weapons operation and controlling cargo such as an injured person on a litter.
This V9 air/vehicle could be modified to support autonomous transport of the Survival Air Stretcher to forward operating bases and medical facilities while accommodating multiple injured people retrievals. It would be scaled to retrieve and transport only the Survival Air Stretcher with its injured person and equipment. Its 1,000 pound weight capacity payload more than satisfies a mission of stretcher loading, person recovery and transport. The injured person is secured by a 6-point safety harness that is attached to the stretcher's flexible cross-bar lift architecture. For air evacuation, the air stretcher would be placed under the air/vehicle's canopy as shown below.
The air/vehicle’s counter rotating turbines enable it to remain stable at heights just off the ground for loading Survival Air Stretchers. Lateral ducted fan turbines are equipped with two sets of three counter-rotating rotor blades (propellers). The aircraft has two lateral turbines each with six rotor blades for a total of twelve rotor blades. The lateral turbines are capable of rotating at 2,000 RPM. Two lightweight powerful turbo shaft engines drive the lateral turbines in excess of 1,250 Hp each. This yields a total of over 2,500 Hp in the two lateral turbines and 1,200 in the rear ducted fan turbine. The rear turbine can be either a dual counter-rotating ducted fan rotor or engineered as an air accelerator bladeless turbine powered by the dual turbo shaft engine’s exhaust. This horsepower is distributed to the three turbines during vertical takeoffs and landings and ensures the aircraft’s operational range.
With the air/vehicle’s transformer capability, the aircraft accommodates a wing span from 5.0 ft at rest, launch and landing to 9.0 ft at full launch and flight. During air transit, the V9 air/vehicle is 9 feet long by 9 feet wide with all but a foot of the anterior mid section width taken up by the lateral ducted fan rotor assemblies. When extended, the rear upper right and left horizontal stabilizer winglets of the V-Wing account for a maximum aircraft height of 5 ft and a minimum aircraft height of 5 ft at rest with ground wheels extended. Within 20 seconds, the low-aspect ratio wings can extend and rotate out of the fuselage after vertical take-off and can be retracted into the fuselage during landing and at rest. During ground transit, the width is 5 feet conforming to ground transit requirements.
For weight to strength efficiency, the air/vehicle has a titanium airframe and uses light weight composites-based exterior panels. Additionally, molded structural polyurethane is used for the interior life support and cargo /payload bay requirements.
The air/vehicle’s maximum lift payload is 1,000 pounds. In its current configuration, it is capable of carrying 2 to 3 people for troop insertion missions (one forward placement and up to two mid placement plus equipment for a combined total payload of 1,000 pounds. For medical evacuation configuration, one forward placement medic, two medical evacuation litters and medical equipment allow for the 1,000 pounds. For pilotless resupply and cargo transit missions, all 1,000 pounds are available for freeform configuration.
The air/vehicle design specification provides for a top speed of 300 mph (260 knots - nautical miles per hour), a significant nautical range. The aircraft is designed for reliability, internal and external sensitive acoustics, and an environmental sensitivity due to non-polluting benefits of its hybrid fuel-to-electric power plant. It has a maximum flight range of 500 Nmi over flat or mountainous terrain and has a 10,000 ft elevation maximum.
The air/vehicle is well suited for non detection at night. Its key design technologies include adaptive low aspect wing structures, quiet rear air accelerator bladeless turbine and lateral ducted fan rotor propulsion, lightweight composite structures, advanced flight controls for stable transition between vertical and horizontal flight, hybrid fuel to electric powertrain, and a quiet rechargeable Lithium-ion electric-battery driven motor in-wheel drivetrain for ground transit.
To prevent visibility during night operations, the aircraft has an overall low profile and hugs the ground during ground transit. It employs a wide aerodynamic high lift/drag ratio fuselage with twin retractable canards on the fuselage just forward near the operations cockpit, and lateral integrated low-aspect ratio retractable wings set mid-range to rear on the air/vehicle’s mid-section. A horizontal empennage wing, with a slight pitch angled rear V-Wing, serves as an angled tail section where two in-set winglets with rudders rise from zero to a 45-degree position. Together, the two tail winglets of the V-Wing serve as stabilizers while the aircraft is in flight. For ground transit, the low aspect wings retract into the fuselage reducing the width of the air/vehicle to a manageable size for landing and ground transit, while the V-Wing returns to a flat 0-degree position. Three turbine assemblies supporting twin counter rotating ducted fan rotors are on each side of the air/vehicle’s longitudinal axis and a rear air accelerator ducted fan rotor assembly helps support this efficient configuration. This all ensures aircraft stability with reduced noise.
Air/vehicle is designed as an GPS-flown, autonomous ruggedized ducted fan-configured UAV that is ready for brutal operational terrain environments with components that stand up in harsh venues. Those components include the aircraft’s airframe, critical dynamic communications, sensors, laser and microwave-guided landing components, and critical flight systems. For extended pilotless missions, we have designed strategically placed lightweight ballistic armor ceramic tile protection for aircrew areas, cabin floor and critical rotor components. The aircraft’s motors, hybrid fuel-to-electric power train and ducted fan assemblies use advanced power plants, specifically designed for present and future relevant missions. Emphasis has been placed on excess power available at high gross weight/medium density altitude, reliability, and fuel consumption management. High performance from the aircraft’s power train and ducted fans set the design goal criteria. For a Survival Air Stretcher transport option, the design goal would be to architect and design the right power train and propulsion systems first and then develop the SAS VTOL UAV aircraft around it.