News Release Date : 03/08/2006
FlightCare Chopper Returns To St. Mary’s of Michigan With New Look
What is likely the most recognizable aircraft in Mid-Michigan made its return to home base at St. Mary’s of Michigan on Wednesday, February 15, 2006. The FlightCare helicopter has been out of service for annual maintenance since December 30, 2005. When it flew in on Wednesday night, the chopper sported a brand new paint job and a brand new look. It has been repainted with the new St. Mary’s of Michigan logo and color scheme. While it has been gone, a replacement rescue helicopter has been on loan to St. Mary’s of Michigan and there was no interruption of service to the region. About FlightCare
St. Mary’s of Michigan has long been a leader in cutting-edge medical care in the Mid-Michigan region. Nothing exemplifies this better than the area’s first and most established air medical program: FlightCare. An int
egral part of St. Mary’s of Michigan, FlightCare was established on January 5, 1987, and immediately put Saginaw on the map with something unique to few cities across the nation. With initial training complete, FlightCare transported its first patient from Hills and Dales Hospital in Cass City to St. Mary’s on March 12, 1987 and continues to soar. Over 7,200 patients have been flown by FlightCare to and from over 50 hospitals across the state.
The unique nature of the program begins with the helicopter itself, the BK-117. This aircraft was designed specifically for EMS work and provides rear loading and full patient access during transport. The inside configuration allows for two patients to be transported and fully monitored simultaneously. With two powerful 650hp turbine engines, the BK-117 has a cruising speed of 130 knots or 150 mph. Its fuel capacity allows for flights of 250+ miles giving it one of the longest ranges of any helicopter in Michigan. The added luxury of two engines allows for flights to be conducted safely over water.
Our medical crew is comprised of some of the most experienced and skilled medical professionals in the area. With a transport team of nurses and paramedics, FlightCare blends the expertise and skills of pre-hospital care with the knowledge and abilities of a critical care nurse. Crew members are required to be certified in BLS, ACLS, PALS and TNCC. All staff members attend training quarterly focusing on critical medical skills as well as bi-annual safety training on helicopter operations. Flightcare members regularly provide landing zone classes to pre-hospital providers. These classes teach people when and how to request the helicopter as well as safe flight operations.