Lives on the Line: Flying Medevac Missions with JetCity in Australia

November 29, 2017 | Author: Mariellen Couppee

My role capturing customer success stories for Honeywell Aerospace has taken me many amazing places, but I won’t soon forget my most recent trip in November.

I found myself in Melbourne, Australia, with Honeywell customer and authorized dealer JetCity Pty Ltd. After we finished filming, I spent two days at the company’s headquarters to learn about its pilots, missions and operations. JetCity specializes in medical evacuation and charter flights in Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia using a fleet of Learjet 40/45 aircraft around the clock to transport patients, donors, organs and associated medical teams. I wasn’t expecting to be a part of actual medevac flights, but little did I know what lied ahead.

 Meds

DAY 1

We flew a mission from Essendon to Adelaide to transport a cardiac patient and a supporting medical team. In Adelaide, the medical team prepared the passenger for transport. This is no simple task as the jet’s entry door and narrow aisle must be navigated precisely due to the vast array of tubes, oxygen tank, straps and life-support equipment attached to this special passenger. The medical team boarded and the flight took off to the north, leaving me to explore Adelaide.

They returned later in the evening to Adelaide, and I flew back with them to Melbourne. During the flight, I asked the pilots how they balance their emotions while on the job. The captain admitted it was tough, but the crew must get past their emotions and remain focused on the task of safe transport.

The rest of the flight was spent chatting about the enhanced Primus Elite features. The pilots appreciated the added overlays that increase their situational awareness in flight conditions including unfamiliar terrain, unknown and remote airports, spotty radar coverage, and weather patterns. During medevac flights, lives are on the line and I’m proud Honeywell is JetCity’s trusted brand to support its fleet.

JetCity has been loyal to Honeywell as a customer for 25 years and now as a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) developer and authorized dealer. Its current STC allows for a drop-in replacement for older DU-870 CRT displays with the new DU-875 LCD displays, an upgrade to modern, high-contrast display panels and enhanced features of the Primus Elite™  for Learjet 40/45.

panel day 

DAY 2

The call came in at 5:15 p.m. and Lorne Cole, Managing Director at JetCity, spoke with a coordinator hoping to secure a medevac flight at 4:30 a.m. the next morning. The coordinator asked two subsequent questions: How long would the flight be, and how much it would cost?

I was amazed at how simple it was to reserve such a complex flight. “The coordinator only wants to hear yes/no answers to her questions,” Cole said. “We are one of many calls on her list to make this happen. From my end, I only need to know what time and where.”

Cole’s next step was to notify the crew. “We have a rotating on-call list, and whoever is up will need to arrive at 1:30 a.m.,” he said. Lorne wants his crew and passengers to have the highest-quality products for reliability and increased safety, which for him included upgrading the Honeywell displays on its Learjet fleet from CRT to LCD, and adding the Primus Elite advanced features.

JetCity Chief Engineer Travis Stephens, also a fan of the Honeywell brand, wanted to upgrade its avionics, but there wasn’t a path. So, the company developed its own in-house STC. It took him 18 months of headaches, roadblocks and government regulations to complete it. His hard work paid off: The company now holds the official JetCity DU-875 drop-in replacement STC for Learjet 40/45, and its medevac flights are guided by brilliant Honeywell displays.

My two days with JetCity gave me insight and appreciation for the invaluable services they provide in the Asia Pacific region. It also shows how Honeywell helps its customers work more effectively with tools such as our DU-875 LCD displays.

 panel night

 

Mariellen Couppee

Mariellen Couppee

Specialist Sr Communications

Mariellen has spent her career weaving stories from movie trailers to corporate branding. She made the leap full time from big screen to head's up display several years ago, and now specializes in aviation and aerospace. Her own story includes flying aircraft with the latest in Honeywell technologies to warbirds, float planes, and her own classic aircraft.

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