Using state of the art aircraft and highly skilled medical and aviation professionals, Life Flight Network (LFN) provides life saving transport to seriously ill or injured patients from the scene of an emergency or from one hospital to another.
LFN is the nation’s largest not-for-profit air medical service and has provided residents across the Northwest and Intermountain West with the finest air medical transport for nearly four decades.
They operate a fleet of 19 Agusta Westland AW119Kx “Koala” helicopters, with one based at the ever-expanding Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport in Lewiston, Idaho. The Koala reaches speeds of 175 miles per hour and comes equipped with a state-of-the-art Garmin G-1000H cockpit, night vision goggle capability, satellite weather, synthetic vision, and the capacity to transport two patients with unencumbered full-body access.
Mark Heuett General Contractor company of Clarkston, Washington was given the bid to construct a new 108’x85′ hangar to house two aircraft, a helicopter and a fixed wing turbine aircraft. Within the hangar is 26’x85′ dedicated for crew quarters. Life Flight Network personnel man the hangar 24 hours a day with pilots and emergency medical staff. Clarkston is a border city, just across the Snake River west of Lewiston.
The Schweiss bifold 70’x17′ liftstrap door is equipped with autolatches, is well insulated and windrated at 120 mph.
“We had a base there for about five years, but we leased space and never really had our own dedicated hangar. This project is something we’ve been working on for a couple of years now and finally completed it,” said Justin Dillingham, Chief Customer Officer for Life Flight. Portions of these crews alternate staying in the living quarters 24/7. “Now we have a beautiful new hangar with crew quarters for all our flight crew and local administrative staff.”
“The bifold door works great; it’s heavy-duty and easy to operate. A small amount of education is required so staff know not to leave it open during windy days, but the door is exactly what we needed. We had windows installed to let light into the building and to make sure the area outside is free from obstructions. It works great for us.”
– Justin Dillingham
“We average 300-400 emergency flights a year; or about one a day. We have a goal of a helicopter getting off the ground in 8 minutes from the time we receive a call. Fixed wing flights take a little longer because they have to file flight plans, but we try to be off the ground in less than 20 minutes. During inclimate weather the helicopter and plane are stored inside the hangar.” explained Dillingham.
The inside of the hangar is similar to a fire station where people live there. It has sleep rooms, TV lounge area, restrooms, showers, a kitchen, maintenance tool area and an office.
Attached to the hangar is a Schweiss 70’x17′ bifold liftstrap door. The custom-made door is equipped with autolatches and was framed out for four 48″x48″ windows which allow a considerable amount of natural light into the hangar. It is also windrated at 120 mph. The exterior was clad in 26 gauge metal sheeting and the interior is well insulated.
Dillingham said he did have input on what type door would go on the hangar, relying on a recommendation from the general contractor, who highly recommended the Schweiss bifold door from past experience with them.
Senior Project Manager, Chance Chacon, of Mark Heuett General Contractor company was in charge of ordering and coordinating the Schweiss Bifold door for the hangar. He said his company is familiar with Schweiss Doors as they have ordered and installed five other bifold doors in the past.
“The bifold door works great; it’s heavy-duty and easy to operate,” said Dillingham. “A small amount of education is required so staff know not to leave it open during windy days, but the door is exactly what we needed. We had windows installed to let light into the building and to make sure the area outside is free from obstructions. It works great for us.”
Two Telehandlers and a scissor lift made quick work of installing the door. Mark Heuett General Contractor Inc. of Clarkston, Washington built the hangar and installed the bifold door.
“In a nutshell, what I like best about Schweiss Doors, is that you have it figured out. You know how to build a bifold door; you’re not trying to figure it out on the fly. The install went good without any issues and we were pleased with how everything came together. We had clear instructions and the pieces were where they were supposed to be. The shop drawings matched exactly.”
– Chance Chacon
“In a nutshell, what I like best about Schweiss Doors is that you have it figured out. You know how to build a bifold door; you’re not trying to figure it out on the fly,” said Chacon. “One of the things that we appreciated was when I talked to Brent (at Schweiss Doors), one of the guards for the motors got a scratch on the paint. He didn’t question it, he just said add up if there is anything missing or if anything is not right and we’ll stand by it. Just knowing in the end that we had good partners to work with makes a big difference to us. We’d recommend Schweiss doors to others.”
Chacon said there was no particular reason why they chose a bifold door over a hydraulic door. Cost, he said was an issue. He said word of mouth was one criteria of how his company heard about Schweiss Doors. That, and the fact he said he sees a lot of Schweiss doors in airport environments where they do a lot of their work.
“The install went good without any issues and we were pleased with how everything came together. We had clear instructions and the pieces were where they were supposed to be. Brent at Schweiss Doors was very helpful; we never had any questions during erection of the door. One of the things I really appreciated while working with Brent was that I could put him directly in the email with myself and the metal building company, because it was important that we all could work and look at things together eliminating any possibility of something getting lost in translation. The shop drawings matched exactly,” noted Chacon.
Life Flight Network (LFN) has a base at the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport. It is the gateway to North Central Idaho, Southeastern Washington, and Northeastern Oregon, just a jetboat ride away on the Snake River from Hell’s Canyon, North America’s deepest gorge (yes, it’s even deeper than the Grand Canyon). The region is nearly paradise for those who fish and hunt. Lewiston, Idaho is located at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers.
LFN owns, operates and is the FAA Air Carrier Certificate holder for four Pilatus PC12NG fixed-wing aircraft. The Pilatus provides an electric lift rated to lift patients as large as 650 pounds, larger interior space for patient, and crew and advanced avionics. LFN operates one AW109E “Power” twin-engine helicopter for service in western Oregon and southwest Washington. The AW109E aircraft have advanced avionics and are capable of flying under Instrument Flight Rules, making them ideally suited to take advantage of Life Flight Network’s proprietary low-level route structures.
LFN also has a fleet of ground ambulances, which include three Mercedes Sprinter ambulances. Ground units are used to provide a continuum of care between the airport and the sending or receiving facility, and are used for critical care transport when weather prohibits flying.
Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport is a public use airport owned by the city and Nez Perce County. For more information on LFN visit their website at: www.lifeflight.org or call (800) 982-9299.
The Life Flight liftstrap door with autolatches is well insulated. Inside the hangar are 24/7 crew quarters for flight crew and local administrative staff.
MHGC specializes in commercial and industrial construction and excavating. They are based in Clarkston, Washington and are licensed to work in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, offering services in the entire four state region.
MHGC was founded in 1997 by Mark Heuett with a single goal in mind: “Build a company that consistently provides high quality of work, and professional service to all of their clients.”
The past decade offered challenging projects throughout the Northwest which included roads, bridges, commercial and industrial facilities, educational buildings, landfill gas extraction, dam modification and repair, airport hangers, agricultural buildings, maintenance shops and commercial tenant improvements.
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