SPECIAL UNIT PROFILE

Mission Hospital Mountain Area Medical Airlift

MAMA’s Eurocopters serve mountainous regions of North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina.


MAMA’s mission communications center handles all EMS calls for the region and is located near the Asheville helipad. Communication Specialists Tara Sprouse (L) and Penny Ponder maintain constant contact with MAMA’s helicopters and land-based responders.

The overall interior was originally designed by a division of the former Rocky Mountain Helicopters company and includes 2-patient transport capability and seating for 3 medics, with the copilot seat capable of rotating 180° to face the medical cabin.

Although most flights carry 1 patient only, the ability to reconfigure quickly in the field was important.

Should a 2nd patient require transport, the crew can provide accommodation for another stretcher in about 60 sec. Medical equipment on board includes the ProPaq Encore primary vital signs monitoring system, Zoll M-Series cardiac monitor, a transport ventilator, IV infusion pumps, and Thomas EMS transport packs.

The EC135 is equipped with internal liquid oxygen for patient use. (The liquid oxygen system requires less maintenance, reduces weight and is safer to operate.)

Clear vision

Lead Mechanic Karl Esbenshade and his team provide 24/7 support for MAMA’s helicopters. Work is often performed outside on the pad at both the Asheville and Franklin facilities.

MAMA will continue to develop its assets as it has for the past 2 decades to meet its core responsibilities in the mountain region it serves.

Tom Cowan would like to see the BK117 replaced with another EC135 to improve transport capability and fleet standardization.

“If you are not improving, you are going backward” Fridd states, describing his goals as the leader of the MAMA aviation team. Since joining MAMA, he and the entire group—pilots, mechanics and medical crew—have worked hard to ensure that they can bring the best care to the people of the quad-state area.

Grindstaff adds, “We want to be part of where the science is going,” both in terms of medicine and equipment—like NVGs for the medical crew. Fridd sums up his vision for the future, saying, “We want to have state-of-the-art equipment and facilities to provide safe and efficient service to the people of the region.”

Brent Holman has held a variety of flight training and operations management positions at a major US air carrier for the past 25 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.

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