Classic Air Medical stations new aircraft in Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

Classic Air Medical stations new aircraft in Craig

Patrick Kelly

April Larson, Classic Air Medical's regional clinical director, cuts the ribbon in an initiation ceremony introducing Classic's newest addition to its fleet of air ambulances.

Classic Air Medical introduced the newest addition to its fleet of emergency medical response aircrafts Wednesday evening at Craig-Moffat Airport.

A premier air ambulance service in the Midwest, Classic has provided medical services for 27 years. The company, originally a helicopter tour operation, was adapted in response to the need for air medical evacuation services.

Now, it operates in Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Oregon and New Mexico, transporting critical patients from rural communities with high-level care.

"It's a great asset for the community to be able to have access to those quicker responses, kind of fill in for the golden hour and be able to get to a level one, level two type trauma center," said Chad Bowdre, public relations representative for Classic.

The ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday evening welcomed a new fixed-wing aircraft that will be based out of Craig-Moffat Airport and staffed by a local medical team and pilot known as Lifeguard 24.

Classic Air Medical already has a helicopter stationed in Steamboat Springs capable of servicing areas as far north as Rawlins, Wyoming, and as far south as Montrose. The new Pilatus PC 12 fixed wing aircraft will service a similar area.

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Bowdre explained that when the air ambulance is required to transport a patient, local medical technicians employed by Classic will stop what they are doing, go to the hospital and receive the patient while the pilot preps the plane at the airport.

Patients in critical condition can also be transported directly from the scene of an accident to the airport.

"They transport over here, load them into the plane and then fly," he said. "Wherever they need to go."

Pilot Bruce Francis — Classic's most experience fixed-wing captain — will fly patients in need of transport. Outside of the cockpit, a nurse and a paramedic will accompany the patient.

The plane has a 1,000 mile range, a top speed of around 275 miles per hour and is fully equipped to for instrument-only operation.

"It's all weather, day or night, icy conditions," Francis said. "If it's legal to fly weather wise, we can do it."

The addition of a fixed-wing aircraft will expand Classic's services by allowing them to transport patients when weather is not suitable for a helicopter.

Jennifer Riley, chief of marketing and business development for The Memorial Hospital, said Classic Air Medical provides an important service for rural areas.

"We do rely on air transport, on a sometimes daily basis," she said.

Classic Air Medical is on call 24 hours a day and offers a $60 annual membership service for individuals that eliminates out of pocket costs.

For more information visit Classic's website at http://www.classicairmedical.com/

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