Category: AVIATION

MedComm: Columbus’ Air Medical “Air Traffic Control”

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Learn more about MedComm at http://www.MedFlight.com

MedComm:  Columbus’ Air Medical “Air Traffic Control”

Amanda Ball, Safety Officer

MedFlight

Columbus, Ohio, is home to several trauma centers, burn centers, hyperbaric chambers, and hospitals offering the best in specialized care.  Because of this, air medical traffic in central Ohio is often congested.  With 9 helicopter teams positioned throughout Ohio, MedFlight is often in the air across the state and potentially crossing paths with other air medical programs in the area.

Since its inception, MedFlight’s communication center, MedComm, has been proudly located in Columbus.  These local and highly-trained experts are available 24/7 for your safety needs and have impressive experience in aviation, 911 dispatching, EMS, military service, nursing, and air medicine.

For decades, MedComm has provided flight-following and flight monitoring services for not only our teams, but for other air medical programs visiting central Ohio hospitals as well.  With safety as our top priority, MedComm acts as “air traffic control” for all inbound and outbound aircraft in the greater Columbus region.  This initiative began as part of a partnership with the Central Ohio Trauma System to help prevent “traffic jams” over hospital helipads, flight paths crossing, and potential near-misses in an already congested urban airspace.

If you work at an agency that transports into the Columbus area, we ask that you contact MedFlight MedComm so we can not only alert other flight teams and hospital security teams of your intended flight path, but we can keep an eye on YOUR safety as well.   This needed communication process is broken down into a few simple steps:

  1.  Have your dispatch center call MedComm with your flight path and an ETA. MedComm can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-222-5433.
  2. Once you are 15 minutes away from your Columbus destination, contact MedComm on the radio. Most visiting flight programs contact MedComm on 155.400 PL 141.3, but you are welcome to contact us on MedFlight’s MARCS channel, labeled as MEDFLT.  They will relay any air medical traffic you need to look out for in the area during your mission.
  3. Columbus is also home to several touring, media, and law enforcement helicopters, 3 major airports, and visiting air traffic (banner planes, blimps, etc) during special events. Please announce your intended flight path and altitude to air traffic on Unicom 123.025 when you are entering Columbus airspace.

Along with overseeing air medical traffic, MedComm is more than happy to assist your teams with their operational needs, like arranging for extra personnel to be waiting on your arrival for patient unloading, contacting your dispatch center if you are out of range, etc.

With your help, we can maintain a safe flying culture in the Greater Columbus area and around Ohio.  #PartnersForLife

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Winter Helipad Safety Tips

Here are 10 quick tips on how to keep your helipad in SAFE shape this winter:

1.  Use only UREA or a chemical product that claims no corrosive properties or hazards to the environment, such as the ice-melting agents Sodium Acetate or Potassium Acetate.

2.  DO NOT USE ROCK SALT.  Rock salt is corrosive to the aircraft.

3.  Do not use sand as an anti-skid agent.  It will not stay in place, and creates a projectile hazard during rotor wash.

4.  Helipad warning/safety signs should be cleared of snow and remain visible.

5.  Do not bury perimeter lighting in snow piles.

6.  Do not pile snow in front of gates or routes of ingress/egress from the helipad.

7.  Snow piles immediately adjacent to the helipad greater than 2 ft high could cause damage to the helicopter tail rotor.

8.  Position snow piles so that melting snow and ice will drain from the helipad and not refreeze, creating a fall/slip hazard.

9.  Helicopters develop rotor was that typically exceeds 75-100 mph.  Dangers include serious wind chill and projectiles created by any loose snow or ice.

10.  Whiteout conditions can occur during takeoff and landings.  These can affect pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic.

 

**Consider helipad painting schemes that help melt ice and snow.  A red background is recommended.  See FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 150-5390-2BPara 409b. (2) and fig 4-10b**

 

THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO TO KEEP OUR FLIGHT CREW AND PATIENTS SAFE!

 

For more info, visit http://www.OACCT.org

or contact:

Bill Fauconneau, Safety Officer at MedFlight.  bfauconneau@medflight.com

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Quotes on Flight

Quotes on Flight

“The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn’t it be? —it is the same the angels breathe.” — Mark Twain

“Can the magic of flight ever be carried by words? I think not.” — Michael Parfit

“The fascination of flight can’t be expressed with words. But it really lies beyond the capabilities of human endeavor. Once you’ve experienced it, you’ll never be able to forget it.”
— Friedrich Oblessor

“Flying was a very tangible freedom. In those days, it was beauty, adventure, discovery — the epitome of breaking into new worlds.” — Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“I’ve never known an industry that can get into people’s blood the way aviation does.” — Robert Six

“I’ve had a ball.” — Charles ‘Chuck’ Yeager, describing his 30 year Air Force career.

“It was quite a day. I don’t know what you can say about a day when you see four beautiful sunsets. . . . This is a little unusual, I think.” — John Glenn

“To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home.” — anon

“Pilots are a rare kind of human. They leave the ordinary surface of the word, to purify their soul in the sky, and they come down to earth, only after receiving the communion of the infinite.” — Jos-Maria Velasco Ibarra

“The cockpit was my office. It was a place where I experienced many emotions and learned many lessons. It was a place of work, but also a keeper of dreams. It was a place of deadly serious encounters, yet there I discovered much about life. I learned about joy and sorrow, pride and humility, fear and overcoming fear. I saw much from that office that most people would never see. ” — Brian Shul

“Flying is a lot like playing a musical instrument; you’re doing so many things and thinking of so many other things, all at the same time. It becomes a spiritual experience. Something wonderful happens in the pit of your stomach.” — Dusty McTavish

“You haven’t seen a tree until you’ve seen its shadow from the sky.” — Amelia Earhart

“My soul is in the sky.” — William Shakespeare

Landing Zone Safety and Set-Up

Landing Zone Safety and Set-Up

Remote scene safety is important from the very beginning… and that includes securing a safe landing zone (LZ) for our helicopters. Our healthcare partners can arrange for a Landing Zone Lecture, offering continuing education credit, while enhancing safety and familiarity with our helicopter. Note: Multiple department/agency lectures are encouraged.

Click here to request a Landing Zone Lecture for your location: https://outreach.medflight.com/requests/frmlz.aspx

***Landing Zone Setup***

LZ area should be free of obstructions. Eliminate these hazards:
– Wires (surrounding the landing area and High Tension power lines within 1/2 mile)
– Towers (TV, Radio, Cellular within 1/2 mile)
– Trees
– Signs and Poles
– Buildings
– Vehicles
– People

LZ area should be 100′ X 100′ if possible.
LZ should have as little of a slope as possible (less than 5 degrees).
LZ area should be a hard surface (concrete, asphalt, gravel, lawns, etc.).
LZ corners should be marked with highly visible devices (cones, flairs, strobes).
No debris on landing surface and within 100′ of landing area.
Land the helicopter(s) a safe distance from the scene/patient.
Never point bright lights directly at the aircraft!
Maintain security of LZ while helicopter is present.
Landing Zone Briefing
Type of LZ surface and size
How LZ is marked (cones, flairs, strobes, etc.)
All noted obstructions (see list above)

Precautions!
Never assume flight crew will see a hazard!
Never approach the helicopter unless directed by the flight crew!
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