How Safe Is Air Medical Transport? The Facts About Aircraft Safety
Unfortunately, we occasionally hear news reports about accidents involving air ambulances. These tragic situations are definitely cause for concern, and we at MedFlight911 certainly understand when patients and their families contact us with questions about the safety of air medical transport.
First, we want you to know that safety – both of our patients and our crew – is our biggest priority. Every one of our aircraft partners strictly maintains FAA standards and all of them are FAA Part 135 Certificate Holders. We take safety very seriously. Our job is to do everything in our power to see that our patients arrive safely at their destination, and that includes making sure that all aspects of the trip – from the training of our medical crew to the aircraft themselves – will help keep the patient safe.
Second, it's important to realize that many of the air ambulance accidents that you hear about involve rotor-wing aircraft, or helicopters. There are a number of reasons that we hear of more accidents involving helicopters, including the fact that helicopter air ambulances typically fly in more dangerous conditions (for example bad weather or in remote locations) than fixed-wing air ambulances. While accidents with fixed-wing air ambulances can happen, they're more unusual.
I want to make a distinction between rotor-wing and fixed-wing aircraft because at MedFlight911, we transport our patients using fixed-wing aircraft, or airplanes. And that's a very safe way to travel. When transporting our patients and their accompanying family members, we use planes that meet or exceed all standard safety guidelines. In addition, our planes are always flown by highly trained pilots who strictly adhere to all safety regulations. Our vendors maintain WYVERN, ARGUS, and EURAMI Platinum ratings in order to ensure the safest aviation operations possible.
Many of the planes we use are twin-engine aircraft. We like these planes because they're generally very reliable. For example, with a twin-engine aircraft, there is a back-up engine to rely on in case one engine stops working. What are the chances of both engines failing simultaneously? According to aircraft manufacturer Boeing, the odds of that happening on a twin-engine craft is less than one in a billion flight hours.
Whether we transport patients by turbo-prop, twin-engine, or jet, all the aircraft we use at MedFlight911 are extremely safe. (We use different types of aircraft depending on the specific situation; long-distance international flights often require a heavy jet, for example, while light jets and turbo-props are more appropriate for shorter distances.)
Whatever the circumstance, you can be sure that you'll be flying on a safe, dependable, and well-maintained aircraft. Our aircraft have traffic collision avoidance systems (TCAS), which monitor the airspace around the airplane and warns the pilots when other airplanes are too close. In addition, fixed-wing aircraft operate with the guidance of air traffic controllers, which helps them navigate and increases safety.
Of course, just knowing that an air ambulance provider uses twin-engine or other fixed-wing aircraft doesn't mean that they're the right choice for your transport needs. Before making a final decision about an air ambulance provider, be sure to ask questions about pilot and medical crew training, equipment, and aircraft operations. At MedFlight911, we're always happy to provide this information to prospective clients, since we want you to be as confident in our services as we are.
To find out more about MedFlight911's air ambulance services give us a call at 888-359-1911 or get a no-obligation air medical transport quote here.