The publicly funded Health Care District of Palm Beach County has temporarily grounded its second air ambulance due to a pilot shortage. Trauma Hawk is the name of the air ambulance service. The Palm Beach County Health Care District operates Trauma Hawk 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and adds a second air ambulance from noon to midnight. However, the departure of two pilots and the possible departure of another may result in the discontinuation of another lifesaving air transport.
Why is the Air Ambulance Service Facing this Shortage?
“There are pilots who have moved on for several reasons, including the high demand for pilots in the aviation industry,” said Health Care District spokeswoman Robin Kish. “Until those positions are filled, the Health Care District is working quickly to fill three pilot positions.” We continue to provide continuous 24-hour air transport coverage.”
Kish revealed that she is not aware of any Trauma Hawk requests being denied due to a shortage and that both helicopters are used simultaneously about three times a month.
The Shortage is Widely Prevalent
The shortage of pilots is not unique to the organization or the region. This is a problem that the entire industry is currently dealing with. It is the result of increased costs. Furthermore, it appears that there is competition between airlines and the military to keep their pilots longer, which has resulted in a smaller number of pilots available to the helicopter industry.
Prior to the pandemic, a 2018 study conducted by the University of North Dakota and Helicopter Association International predicted a nationwide shortage of 7,649 helicopter pilots by 2036 – a big number considering schools churn out only 600 to 800 helicopter pilots each year.