8B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend, etc. Magazine - Thursday, March 30, 2000
The Michigan Daily - Weekend, etc. Maga
Flight Nurse Michelle Haselhune prepares the helicopter after a flight.
Pilot Alan Harris prepares the helicopter for takeoff. The target response time is five minutes after a call has been received.
Survival Flight is the University of Michigan's air medical transport pro-
gram, which recently topped more than 250 other similar programs in the
nation to be named the best by the Association of Air Medical Services.
The Survival Flight is manned by nine pilots, 19 flight nurses, four
mechanics and four communication specialists. The fleet consists of three
twin-engine Bell 430-series helicopters, each equipped with state-of-the-art
medical equipment. Each helicopter can carry two patients and a two-man
medical crew and can travel at an average speed of 172 miles per hour. The
service usually extends to about 200 miles from Ann Arbor. For more distant
destinations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the
Caribbean, a medically configured fixed-wing Cessna Citation jet will be
used. This jet is stationed at Willow Run Airport while the Bell 430s are sta-
tioned atop the University Hospitals and C. S. Mott Children's Hospital.
This 17-year-old program, which started in 1983, is available 24 hours a
day, 365 days a year. The program has been involved in the care and trans-
port of nearly 20,000 patients. They transport seriously ill and injured
patients from local or regional hospitals to specialized treatment facilities,
evacuate victims from accident and disaster sites and transport organs or
organ transplant teams to the University Hospitals.
The program has a target arrival time of five minutes at an accident or dis-
aster site. The team feels that the shorter the time that the patients are trans-
ported to the emergency room, the shorter the time is needed to be in the
emergency room. They also add that some patients can't afford the time for
ground transport, hence, for them Survival Flight is the best way to get to the
But this program doesn't come cheap. It costs $2,000 just for liftoff, and
mileage, time and equipment charges are added to this price.
The Bell 430 series helicopter makes a landing on the helipad, which is on the roof of Taub;
rescue mission. This is one of the three new helicopters in the Survival Flight fleet.