Air Methods is the world's largest air medical services provider, and may be dispatched to transport a patient between hospitals, roadside accident or any extreme example in between. They must be ready to provide the Level I trauma support the patient requires during this critical phase known as the ‘golden hour’, so tracking and monitoring this fleet is paramount to response and safety.
“As more hospitals are consolidated into networks, a lot of the rural services are being shut down, so by having our Level 1 air medical services, they can get to a trauma center and survive,” said Air Methods VP of Flight Operations, Teri Short.
In 2018, a new FAA rule takes effect, requiring larger-fleet Helicopter Air Ambulance (HAA) operators to have Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) capabilities, including the aircraft’s heading, altitude, flight path, engine parameters, flight controls, and system performance.
“If an aircraft is on the ground, and it can't take the mission, then both of us lose, and our mission doesn't happen. We look for partners who understand aviation, and understand the criticality of keeping aircraft in service, and Honeywell is known for that,” Teri said.
"We chose to partner with Honeywell because we like partners that are solid, excellent providers, and that we know they're going to be there in the future with us.”
The Tracker III, and the Tracker III Advance, allows us to tap into the aircraft systems through the electrical data buses, and pick up everything the aircraft is doing. If the information is available, such as engine parameters, oil, temp, and torque - everything on the aircraft that is running across those data buses can be brought into the Tracker III system, recorded, and plotted. We can determine which of those parameters we want to watch or monitor, and see if the aircraft is behaving like we expect it to, 100% of the time, at all times.”
The on-board crew is also able to communicate medical status, so if there is a sudden change in the critical care needs of the patient, the information can be relayed through the Sky Connect Tracker III system to the medical personnel on the ground via their operations center.
Archie Gray, SVP Flight Operations, Air Methods, states “Honeywell took it a step further by partnering with Masco; they are a distributor for the Tracker III, and the company was built upon customer service and support. They figure out a way to make it happen.”
Masco is celebrating their 50 year anniversary this year, and for every one of those years, has remained passionate about customer service and keeping customers flying through “good quality work, at a good fair price”. Archie agrees.
“I've been in this industry going on 43 years. I've worked with Honeywell for 43 years and I've worked with Masco for 43 years and they've never let me down. It's a great relationship.”