The addition of a different fixed wing aircraft to the AirLink fleet is paying dividends for patients needing transport to and from the Regional West Medical Center.
On the first of November, AirLink switched from a KingAir 200 to a Pilatus PC-12, which has a larger cargo door to load patients, and more room for medical staff.
While usage between the helicopter and plane is generally even, Dr. Peter Meyer says the plane allows more flexibility when transport by air is needed. “It’s picked up the slack where we couldn’t fly people before,” says Meyer “We’d have a request, and it’s snowing or it’s too foggy (for the helicopter). We can now roll that over to the plane and they’re taking those flights and servicing our area for people in need.”
The AirLink helicopter may be more suited to transport victims of accidents with the ability to make point-to-point transports,
and while the plane may be slightly easier to work inside, Flight Nurse Tracy Meyer says each aircraft has the same medical equipment on board. “We wanted that for consistency’s sake,” says Tracy Meyer, “since the crews trained in both modes, we wanted the same breathing machine on both the plane and helicopter, the same I-V pumps, the same monitor. So as far how we’re providing the care, I think it’s a little easier.”
Since the new plane went into service at the start of November, it has made more than 150 flights transporting patients between facilities like Regional West and the Medical Center of the Rockies.
The service includes 11 nurses, 6 paramedics and 1 doctor joined by 8 pilots and two mechanics, with all of them conducting quarterly training to keep their skills in top condition.