5 Key Issues with Air Medical Transportation

Posted on December 22, 2017

Air medical flights are unique in nature, specifically because they are transporting patients who require critical medical attention and care. Almost a decade ago, the job of an air medical transport pilot was considered the most dangerous in the U.S. It was a time when the situation of air ambulance accidents had escalated and blown up to a public health crisis. That was the time when the air medical transportation industry was experiencing rapid growth and there were fewer companies operating in the United States.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reported that the most fatal air medical transport accidents occur when pilots unexpectedly encounter bad weather or poor visibility which leaves them disoriented. The NTSB is an independent agency which determines the probable causes of air medical transportation accidents and promotes safety. Over two decades ago, they urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to improve air medical flights safety and transportation standards, pushing it towards one of the most important advances for the air medical transportation industry. Today, we have air medical flights running on stricter flight rules, improved training procedures, better communications and state-of-the-art on-board safety equipment, thanks to the rules set forth by FAA almost 17 years ago.


Key Aspects of an Air Medical Transportation Company that Matter

So what are the various key aspects of safety which unaccredited air medical flights will have? Here’s a brief look at the top five major ones:


1. Not all Air Medical Transport Providers are the Same

Not every air medical flights provider will be the same because not all air medical transportation companies are accredited by FAA and CAMTS or follow the safety standards set forth by NTSB. Opting for an accredited air medical transport company will automatically eliminate the sub-standard providers. An accreditation by CAMTS and a FAA certification is a seal of quality which indicates efficiency and quality of service of the air medical transport provider.


2. Untrained Air Medical Flight Crew and Staff

One of the major safety issues of a low standard air medical transportation company is that their flight crew and staff will have no scenario-based training which includes training for the usage of flight devices and simulators. FAA standards ensure that the air medical flights crew is proficient in instrument flying training which includes inadvertent flight into clouds and low visibility.


3. Non-availability of Specialized Equipment

Poor weather is the biggest challenges which air medical flight pilots face, especially when conditions deteriorate at night. FAA certified air medical transport company’s jets and air ambulances will be well-equipped with specialized alerting, terrain awareness and warning systems including NVIS and H-TAWS. Their pilots will be trained for using night vision imaging and autopilot systems which assist in avoiding low visibility and bad weather.


4. Unable to meet Basic Regulatory Compliance

According to NTSB, only 3 – 5% of the air medical transport industry offers world class air medical flights service. They adopt and implement the best quality standards, procedures, transportation, equipment and training which meets the regulatory standards set forth by NTSB, FAA and CAMTS. World-class air medical transportation companies like AirMed provide fully equipped and medically configured jets with mission essential equipment to their users. Our air medical flights crew and nursing staff is extensively trained for critical patient care and is FAA certified.


5. Sub-standard Air Medical Transportation Performance

Non-adherence to regulations leads an air medical transport provider to be deemed as a sub-standard company. Strict standards set forth by the NTSB and FAA have promoted initiatives to reduce risk for air medical operations which have led to a drastic decline in the air medical flights accidents. Only by asking the right questions will you be able to find the right air medical transport company for your patient and avoid hiring sub-standard air medical transportation providers.


Can Users Ensure their Air Medical Flights are Safe?

Before you hire an air medical transportation provider, families and friends of the patient can take an active role to ensure the safety standards of an air medical transport. There are several things to take into consideration when finding the best air medical flights. At AirMed, we understand that finding the best air medical flights can be a nerve wracking experience and to make the entire process easier, we offer a wide array of AirMed Membership Plans which connects our users and their loved ones to comprehensive medical solutions and coverage without any worry of insurance and medical flight cost.

We are proud to boost our CAMTS and FAA accreditation, strictly adhering to the standards set forth by the accreditation companies. AirMed has also been chosen as a fixed-wing air medical transportation for top hospitals in the U.S and are a contracted air carrier for the U.S. Department of Defense. Our flight crew and jets are equipped for virtually every critical care scenario, having successfully completed over 18,000 missions and offering seamless services 24/7/365.

Need more details about our services? Call to get a quote at 205-443-4840