Category Archives: Checklist

The Latest on Air Ambulance Transport Rules by FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration had laid down its groundbreaking safety rules for choppers in February of 2014, popularly known as the HAA (helicopter air ambulance) rule. It mandated that the choppers involved in emergency transport of the patient would have to meet requirements like:

  • Inclusion of certain specific safety instruments
  • Improved training and testing
  • Establishment of control systems for air ambulance transport vehicles

These were only a few requirements that were laid down. Although the initial deadline to meet these requirements was April 22 of last year, it was then extended by a year owing to the difficulties of the air ambulance transport companies to comply with them at such short notice. Most air ambulance transport companies have already complied with the first set of rules, although there is some anxiety in the air ambulance transport industry as the deadline nears.

The Air Ambulance Transport Sector will have to Meet More Deadlines

Although the air ambulance transport companies will have to comply with several of the rules laid down this year, there are some for which the sector still has time. Here’s a breakdown.

Compliance by April 2016: Setting up of operations control center.

Compliance by April 2017:

  • Installation of radio altimeters
  • Incorporation of warning systems and terrain indicators for choppers
  • Meeting qualification criteria for PIC instruments

Compliance by April 2018: Complying with mandated systems to monitor flight data.

Guidance is awaited by the Air Ambulance Transport Industry

The sources in the air ambulance transport industry revealed that it is not possible to comply with certain mandates unless there are clear guidelines by the FAA. Compliance with most of the rules will cost the air ambulance transport operators huge dollars, so obviously, they want to get it right and keep the expenses to a minimum.

For the pilots, crew and the people travelling in air ambulance transport vehicles, the rules will bring in more safety and efficiency. In general, the rules have been well accepted by the air ambulance transport industry so far.

Questions that Define the Necessity of Air Ambulance Service

As the kin of the patient or a patient, you might feel that you need only the best care possible in the quickest possible time. However, if one is to keep the emotions and fears aside and decide purely on necessity, the answers to the questions listed below determine whether you need air ambulance service or not. Let’s take a peek.

Does the condition of the patient warrant that he or she spends only a minimum amount of time outside the environment of a medical facility?
If the answer to this question is as little time as possible, then the patient might need the air ambulance service.

Is a particular test or evaluation urgent or time-sensitive?
If the patient needs a test done urgently and it is not possible to get to the testing facility on time through ground transport, an air ambulance service might need to come into play.

Is the weather condition suitable for air ambulance service to be availed?
Suitable weather conditions are of paramount importance when it comes to an air ambulance service. The wrong weather can put the life of the patient and the crew members in jeopardy.

Is there adequate landing facility near the hospital that the patient is being transported to?
Without proper helipad or air port near the hospital that the patient is being flown to, availing air ambulance service would make no sense. The overall time advantage might be negated after landing if the distance to the hospital is huge.

Is the patient’s condition right for air ambulance service?
There are certain ailments that can exacerbate or turn into critical ones if the patient travels by air. The treating physician would be in the knowhow of this.

Is the air ambulance service equipped enough to address the ailment?
Air ambulance service providers may have several aircrafts with varying medical facilities onboard. The patient can be transported using the medical aircraft only if the facilities onboard meet his or her requirements.

Are qualified crew members available at the moment?
In rare situations, when the mishap is of huge proportions, adequately qualified crew members might not be available. In such situations, depending on the patient’s condition, it might be wise to wait until the crew members are available.

These are the type of questions that treating facilities and air ambulance service providers ask themselves before suggesting or even considering an air ambulance service for a patient. Knowing these parameters beforehand helps the patients and their loved ones to understand the logic behind the medical transportation decisions being taken.