19-Apr-2013 Source: REACH Air
REACH Air Medical Services (REACH) is pleased to announce approval from the FAA to use its own GPS approaches and routes, directly to hospitals and landing sites in Western Oregon. REACH is the first Helicopter Emergency Management Service (HEMS) program to commit assets to serve the Oregon Coast and Willamette Valley. These areas are often inundated with weather that cannot be negotiated by visual flight alone. In 2000, REACH was the first air ambulance company in the United States to receive this type of approval for routes in its Northern California response area. Sean Russell, President of REACH says, “We are proud to have made this investment, which will allow us to provide our hospital partners and the communities we serve with the enhanced ability of GPS approaches and routes. These enhancements will ultimately allow us to provide patient access and care where historically, there has not been the option of air ambulance due to certain weather conditions.”
A GPS navigation receiver in the helicopter uses data from five global positioning satellites, simultaneously, to pinpoint its position in three-dimensional space, with an accuracy of 100 feet. “The GPS technology is so accurate, our pilots are able to fly extremely precise routes through mountainous terrain on our GPS routing system at lower altitudes than traditional air traffic control routes,” states Vicky Spediacci, Vice President of Aviation Operations. “This affords us safer flight opportunities that keep us out of prohibitive weather conditions, such as icing, for our helicopters.”
REACH has invested more than $200,000 and over two years in the design and FAA approval process of unique GPS instrument routes and approaches so they can improve their ability to serve customers during inclement weather. The eight hospitals REACH currently has specific approaches for are: North Lincoln Hospital (Lincoln City), Salem Hospital (Salem), Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center (Corvallis), Pacific Communities Hospital (Newport), Tillamook County General Hospital (Tillamook), River Bend Hospital (Eugene), Peace Harbor Hospital (Florence), and Oregon Health and Science University (Portland).
According to Dr. Larry Mullins, Chief Executive Officer of Samaritan Health Services, “(We are) excited about REACH’s plans to use low-level GPS routes to transport patients to and from our hospitals in Benton and Lincoln counties. This process will decrease weather-related delays and reduce ground transportation time to enable safe, efficient and timely transport of patients to the most appropriate facility for their condition.”
REACH Air Medical Services, headquartered in Santa Rosa, California, provides medical transport services utilizing helicopters and airplanes. Serving Oregon, California and Texas, REACH has performed more than 75,000 air ambulance missions since its inception in 1987.In 2011 REACH merged with Cal-Ore Life Flight, headquartered in Brookings, OR. REACH has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Services (CAMTS) since 1998.