The newest fixed-wing medical airplane to service North Platte took flight on Saturday, October 21. It was the same day that organizers were preparing to commemorate the new medical flight service plane with an open house. The crew attended to a patient who needed to be flown out from Great Plains Health.
Need for Medical Flight Service Anticipated Correctly by Air Methods
Air Methods had seen that there was a need for a fixed-wing medical fight plane in the region. The fixed-wing, PC-12 airplane joined the existing fleet of one medical helicopter in April of 2017. The call for service on the first day of it being in operation is proof that Air Methods had correctly anticipated the need for an extra aircraft, according to Air Methods spokesperson, Ryan Penrose.
With this new airplane, the crew will be able to reach cities much faster compared to a helicopter. While it would take them an hour to reach Denver by helicopter, the same trip would take only 45 minutes with the new fixed-wing airplane. The medical airplane will mostly be used for inter-hospital transfers while the helicopter will have more use in responding to emergency situations.
Aircraft to be Dispatched on Case-By-Case Basis
Despite their specific suitability, the medical flight service team will determine whether it would be better to send a fixed-wing aircraft or a helicopter for each case. When they receive a request, the Omaha dispatch center and the Denver control center will work together to see which paths and aircraft is the most suitable and available at the moment.
Patients who are transported on the new aircraft will be able to access all the high-quality medical equipment just like ICU patients do. The aircraft will also be able to transport any patient from premature babies to overweight adult patients.