Getting to know HEMS pilot Lee K

Posted by Michael Latimer on

HEMS Helicopter Pilot
WHAT PART OF THE JOB DO YOU FIND MOST DIFFICULT?
 A lot of sitting around and waiting. It can get boring if you don't have something to help pass the time. A good crew to work with always helps.

ARE YOU TWO PILOT OR SINGLE PILOT CREW?

Single pilot. Unless I'm mistaken most HEMS or HAA ( helicopter air ambulance) as its referred to in the United States is single pilot. Unless it's military/government it's mostly single pilot.

DO YOU CONSIDER THE FLYING DANGEROUS? OR IS IT SAFER THAN OTHER FLYING YOU HAVE DONE?

I wouldn't do this if it was dangerous. There's risk associated with any form of aviation. There are ways we try and mitigate the risk to an acceptable level via a risk assessment matrix and operational control.

At the end of the day it's up to the PIC to make an informed decision on whether to accept a flight based on the available information.

WHAT'S THE SHIFT PATTERNS AND TIME ON AND TIME OFF LIKE?

Shift patterns are 7 days on and 7 days off. Twelve hour shifts. Day and night. That seems to be standard industry wide over here.

 

WHAT HELICOPTER(S) DO YOU FLY IN YOUR ROLE?

I've flown the

BO-105

EC-135

Bell 407GXP

In the EMS role.

WHAT MAKES THIS HELI SO GOOD FOR HEMS? OR IF NOT WHY?

 

A helicopter gets as close to the scene/patient as safely possible. This allows quicker access to critical care and faster access to trauma centers.

There's no need for an airport or a prepared landing area. Airplanes also have their place for long distance transports.


WHAT'S THE MOST INTERESTING DAY YOU'VE HAD?

There's been too many to remember. The ones that really stay with me are the flights involving pediatric patients.

 

HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS JOBS YOU'VE HAD AND IS IT YOUR FAVOURITE JOB?

It may be cliched but I enjoy knowing that we've really helped someone. The fact that every flight is different also adds a level of interest.

There's weather can be dynamic based on length of time. Fuel can be a factor. Hospital landing pads are all different. You never know what you're going to encounter once you land.

I've flown the S-76 and BO-105 offshore in support of the oil and gas sector. I've been lucky enough to do winch work in an S-76 and also flew for a corporate flight dept in NYC.

Each job has it's challenges but in terms of making a real immediate difference in someone's life helicopter EMS is the only type of flying that does that.

 

IF YOU DIDN'T FLY HEMS, WHAT HELICOPTER JOB WOULD YOU LIKE TO FLY?

 

I've been lucky to do many varied types of flying. I'd love to do some flying in mountainous regions and long lining.
ANY ADVICE YOU'D GIVE TO ASPIRING HEMS PILOTS TO GET A JOB?

Try and get as much experience as you can before you start in EMS. It is not a job where you will build flight time. Offshore you can fly 500 hrs a year. EMS you will fly a lot less.

Be confident of your abilities and trust your training. There's a lot of decision making that happens at 0300 with decreasing weather conditions and a sick patient. Don't make rash decisions,make smart ones. Everyone wants to go home and unfortunately a lot of accidents in this industry tend to come from poor decision making.

Everyone wants to help. That's why we do this job. Safety is the number one priority. If that's not your primary focus then don't get in the cockpit.

Instagram: @klacan
 

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The Heli Club Instagram: @theheliclub

You Tube Channel: youtube.com/theheliclub

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