FLIGHT DEPT PROFILE

Omniflight EMS ops

Company flies diverse fleet of helicopters and airplanes from more than 70 emergency medical service bases throughout US.


One of 4 Lifeline Eurocopter BK117s that fly to support central Indiana lands at its base at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis IN.

The specialist also compares current weather against company minimums to ascertain that the weather is within those minimums. Completion of the analysis triggers issuance of a release number to the pilot, signifying to him/her that the flight is OCC approved. The pilot acknowledges the release, briefs the medical crew and they head for the helicopter.

After liftoff, the pilot calls the Communication Center on the company FM radio and files a company flightplan, souls on board, fuel state and estimated time enroute. If the call is to an accident scene the Communications Center advises who the agency on the ground is and on which FM frequency to contact them.

Arriving over the scene the pilot calls the ground agency and gets the landing zone (LZ) information. Then he does a careful aerial reconnaissance of the area, checking for towers, wires and other obstructions and sets up the approach. As soon as they are on the ground, the medical crew leaves the helicopter and attends to the patient.

The pilot stays in the helicopter with rotors turning to minimize turnaround time. Once the crew has loaded the patient, the doors are closed and the pilot lifts off. This is when the crewmembers do their best work, moving a trauma patient quickly to a hospital, the pilot using his skills to get there in minimum time and with the smoothest possible ride and the medical crew administering to the patient to keep him/her stable and comfortable for the few minutes of the flight.

Maintenance technicians complete a routine inspection of University Air Care's BK117 based at University Hospital, Cincinnati OH. A second BK117 is based at I67 (Cincinnati West, Harrison OH) serving northern Cincinnati.

Landing, the pilot must use all his skills to avoid obstacles and set up a stable approach path. Then he must land smoothly and position the helicopter within the tight confines of fences, gates and nearby vehicles. When the medical crew returns to the helicopter, the patient safely in the hospital, they fly back to their base, clean up the helicopter and reprovision for the next call.

Safety is the principal goal, says Tony Lamorgese, recently appointed to the position of VP Flight Operations as part of the company's reorganization. "If the weather or other conditions aren't all within company limits, we will not accept the mission." Lamorgese explains, "The air medical services community has suffered too many unfortunate accidents.

No one wins if the helicopter crashes. Omniflight provides staff with training, such as air medical resource management (AMRM), which enhances communications inside the aircraft. Medical crewmembers receive formal training to act as observers during critical portions of the flight and assist the pilot by identifying flight hazards."

The air medical services community is well positioned for a period of major change. New technologies will drive safer and more efficient flight operations, and a major consolidation of market players is imminent.

DiNota is positioning Omniflight to build on its established platform and tradition as a market leader.Through his initiatives he intends Omniflight to prevail as the industry moves into the next decade.

Woody McClendon flies jets and helicopters and has contributed to Professional Pilot for many years.

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