EagleMed flies 15 King Airs and 15 AStars for far-ranging EMS ops
With 29 bases in 10 states, use of turboprops and helos allows diverse capability in safe patient transfer.
Eurocopter AStars pilots and paramedics both use NVGs for night ops.
Also critical to the company's spotlight on safety is the operation of the maintenance. Dir of Mx Jon Wilson has an A&P like the rest of the 35-mechanic department.
Each base has an assigned A&P, and 7 staffers work in the EagleMed hangar at ICT performing all maintenance procedures up to and including phase inspections for the King Airs and progressive checks for the Eurocopters.
While the department farms out some avionics procedures, it has all of the tools and experience for complex maintenance procedures.
"By doing our own work we can also control the quality of the work. By keeping it in house I can absolutely guarantee I'm getting the quality and meeting the standards we expect," says Wilson, who has been a maintainer for more than 30 yrs. EagleMed's mechanics are on call 24/7 with time off. Wilson says, "I keep the mechanics rotated on time-off schedules with mandatory rest periods. That way they can cover their base and a neighboring base."
EagleMed mechanics annually train between 80 to 100 hrs minimum. All mechanics receive factory training or the equivalent. Eurocopter mechanics receive training from the manufacturer in Texas. For the King Airs, Wilson uses Global Jet Services, which provides onsite courses in EagleMed's extensive Wichita training facilities. Some mechanics are cross-trained.
Wilson says mechanics get up to 2 weeks training on each aircraft type and every year they have a recurrent class for at least another week. In addition, they constantly train in Human Factors, HAZMAT, Crew Resource Management and Just Culture.
Modern communications center
Mx Dir Jon Wilson (L) reviews recent King Air Phase Inspection records with Lead A&P Ross Hausmann.
Brenda Shoemaker manages the communications center's 11-person team. All of the center's staff are trained and certified emergency medical technicians so they have knowledge of medical terminology and procedures.
Two are on-duty at all times and a 3rd is brought in during high-volume hours of 9 am to 9 pm. The center is state of the art with ergo-dynamic workstations. Shoemaker says, "Our computer systems are high powered to run multiple programs. Our Sky Connect fleet tracking gives us a geographical location along with altitude and air speed."
Because the communication center specialists need to have multiple programs visible at all times, each station has 4 computer screens. "One screen is for the tracking system. The radio system another. The other 2 screens are shared between multiple programs, mapping, the CAD system, as well as management contacts. They also manage other processes including out of service notification systems."
Shoemaker has overseen complete modernization of the comm center in her first 2 yrs with the company. "I was impressed early on by the input that each member of the management team has to daily decisions and operations, and how everyone really collaborates to insure that we're providing the best service possible for our customers, that we're maintaining the highest level of safety possible."
Jim Gregory was formerly head of public relations for Learjet and Raytheon Aircraft. Today his James Gregory Consultancy provides aviation marketing and public relations counsel.