Thursday, February 16, 2023

Vita Rescue System: Making Winter Rescue Missions Safer and Faster

The Vita Rescue System is making winter rescue missions faster and safer. The VRS reduces flight and hoist times by up to four times. This system has the potential to save lives and billions of dollars each year, making rescues faster, safer, and more precise.
Written By
First M. Last

Vita Rescue System: Making Winter Rescue Missions Safer and Faster


ith winter rescue missions on the rise year over year, Vita Aerospace's Vita Rescue System is being deployed to make these missions faster and safer. Unusually warm winters have caused rescue operators to deploy earlier than usual, creating opportunities for winter hiking and activities in areas with lower-than-average snowpack. However, these remote winter environments can be dangerous if visitors are unprepared. Cold temperatures, high winds, and limited visibility present unique challenges for rescue teams.

The Vita Rescue System was designed to operate in the harshest conditions and is now being used by international rescue agencies to increase operational efficiency. The United Arab Emirates National Search and Rescue Center has deployed the Vita Rescue System fleet-wide, and the U.S. Army has acquired 15 Vita Rescue Systems for further testing following the completion of their rigorous flight and environmental training program.

Search and Rescue Operations Are on the Rise

A study from the National Park Service showed that the most common rescue spots were mountains and canyons. These areas are hard to access in bad weather and may be blocked off, but helicopter pilots have to land or hover in tough positions to get to those in need.

In the ten-year period of the study through 2014, rescue operation costs were more than $51.4 million. In the years following, these costs have gone up. Even though National Park visits have declined significantly during the pandemic, rescue operations in these areas have increased by 25-65% over figures from 2019. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, for example, has seen almost the same rescue deployments as they did in 2018, despite nearly 30,000 fewer visitors each year.  

The Vita Rescue System is Making Rescue Ops Safer & Faster

The Vita Rescue System is revolutionizing winter rescue operations with its ability to eliminate the spin, swing, and oscillation from the rescue litters being hoisted from a helicopter. This stabilization process takes less than three seconds, providing numerous benefits including faster rescues, increased safety for personnel and patients, and greater efficiency of aerial resources.

Aside from portability and convenience, the system can be operated from a helicopter in motion at speeds of up to 80 knots or roughly 92 mph. The Vita Rescue System can increase the speed of medical evacuations and hoist operations by as much as four times. This is achieved using Vita’s proprietary high-powered bi-directional propulsion drives, allowing for faster hoist stabilization and the ability to manually rotate the patient during hoist operations.  

These advantages reduce flight time and hoist time, reducing the time the aircraft hovers and allowing more crew members to focus on the rescue operation instead of hoist stabilization. In addition to making rescue missions easier for flight crews, the Vita Rescue System has the ability to precisely place the rescue litter between obstacles or on terrain that would otherwise be too difficult for a rescue insertion.  

Better Rescue Tech Saves Time, Money, and Most Importantly…Lives

By reducing flight and hoist times, the Vita Rescue System saves time and money in several ways, including fuel costs, mission time, and increased safety. When you consider that in Colorado alone, approximately 8,000 incident hours and 40,000 volunteer hours are used on rescue missions annually. Even cutting these times in half would save countless lives and millions of dollars. While cost savings are certainly important, rescue operators are more concerned with bringing everyone home safely, every time.  

By leveraging innovative technologies for rescue operations, the United States has the potential to not only save billions of dollars each year, but also countless lives. With the right tools and resources, we can make rescues faster, safer, and more precise.


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