FLIGHT DEPT PROFILE
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office TraumaStar flies S76A++
Joint MCSO/County Fire Rescue unit serves Florida Keys providing HEMS and airborne law enforcement protection.
Chief Pilot Bob Inscoe (L) has a diverse background—he was a stan/eval UH60 Black Hawk pilot in the Army and an airline check airman. Pilot Alice Butler is the safety coordinator for TraumaStar.
MCSO TraumaStar’s Sikorsky S76A++ is a 1981 model acquired from a Pennsylvania hospital system. It was already configured with Keystone Helicopter’s EMS modification package.
This includes the capability to carry up to 4 medical staff, 2 patients and 2 pilots. The flight medic and flight nurse normally assigned to a shift have use of a suite of medical equipment to stabilize and transport patients to the Ryder Trauma Center or Miami Children’s Hospital in Dade County.
The S76 is equipped with 2 litters that swivel and lock, allowing “head to toe” access to patients, according to Susie Martenson. A LifePak 12 defibrillator is installed along with a Propaq Encore monitor system and ventilator.
General medical supplies are also carried, but most patients are “prepackaged” for transport by the paramedics first on the scene, according to Flight Medic Kyburz. All crewmembers are provided with Switlik life vests, HEEDS bottles and helmets.
The S76’s flightdeck is equipped for single-pilot IFR ops. It includes a Garmin 500 GPS/nav system, Rockwell Collins nav/comm VHF radios and DME, a Sperry autopilot, Bendix/King radar and TCAS and Honeywell radar altimeter.
Law enforcement and EMS communications are managed with the NAT AMS 43 multiuser audio controller and transmitted through Technisonic 800 and 400-MHz radios. The S76 is also equipped with a Spectrolab SX5 NightSun searchlight for LE work and illumination of LZs.
Heated glass windshields—optional equipment on the S76—provide extra bird strike protection—a major asset in the Florida Keys. MCSO’s King Air is a former military C12 converted to civilian certified A200 standard.
Monroe County Fire Rescue Staff (L–R): MCFR EMT Battalion Chief Dale Beaver, FF/EMT Raul Cespedes, Air Medical Chief Susie Martenson, FF/EMT-P Irai Campos, Flight Nurse Suzanne DeLuca, FF/EMT Randy Garcia, Flight Medic Casey Kyburz and FF/EMT Mike Saunders.
During the 8 years MCSO has owned the aircraft, it has installed numerous upgrades and modifications. The avionics package installed includes an Avidyne FlightMax MFD, Garmin 530 nav/comm, Bendix/King radar and Ryan TCAD.
Airframe upgrades include a Raisbeck engineering performance system, 4-blade propellers and improved cowling system. Since modification to an A200, the King Air has been maintained on a Part 91 program.
Earlier it served as a prisoner transport, but today mainly flies staff from various departments on county business.
Brooks Bateman’s vision for the MCSO Aviation Division is well planned and funded growth to support the unit’s HEMS operation and expand its LE role.
Monroe County residents indicated in a referendum last year that a capable and efficient government-operated HEMS is a priority to them. With a financial commitment from county voters in place—and with the potential for additional funding from DHS—Bateman would like to add another helicopter that could provide additional law enforcement capability and serve as a backup for the S76.
(L–R) Dir of Maintenance Thomas O’Dea with Mechanics Tony Nabors and Mike Hughes provide 24/7 support to the Aviation Division and have an enviable operational readiness record.
This will likely mean the acquisition of a single-engine helicopter to serve the dual role efficiently, although Bateman does not rule out a larger aircraft.
Any new aircraft will also mean adding 2 or 3 pilots to support the increased workload. Another priority is the upgrade of aircraft components and onboard medical equipment.
While the S76’s current avionics are adequate for its mission, emerging technologies can provide better safety and efficiency. Bateman notes that the county remains “very responsive to our needs for improved medical equipment.”
TraumaStar team members are highly focused on serving the community in which they live and work with high-quality, swift, safe and effective emergency medical air response.
Air Medical Services Chief Susie Martenson sums it up best when she recalls the days before TraumaStar served the Keys: “I’ve held people’s hands while they died in the emergency room waiting for transport to arrive from other places—I am a firm believer in what we accomplish every day with TraumaStar.” And, no doubt, since the early morning of Jun 9 there is at least one little boy and his family who are believers too.
Brent Holman has held a variety of flight training and operations management positions at a major US air carrier for the past 24 years, in addition to flying the line. He has also been involved in law enforcement aviation as a reserve officer/helicopter pilot for over 2 decades.