UW Med Flight
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University of Wisconsin Med Flight is an air ambulance service based at University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. Med Flight was established in 1985, and serves patients within a 225-mile radius of Madison.
The first operational flight was in April 1985 and carried a heart attack patient from Coloma, Wisconsin who survived. The initial staff was three doctors, six nurses, three pilots and one mechanic. There was no aircraft hangar and maintenance on the aircraft was performed outside with a helipad in the parking lot. There was also some controversy in nearby Shorewood Hills, Wisconsin over noise from the helicopter. 20 years later, it was staffed by a rotating crew of 23 doctors, 12 nurses, eight communications specialists and six pilots and had three helicopters and a ground ambulance. In 2005, an $8 million project created a heliport on the 8th floor rooftop of the hospital replacing the parking lot landing pad and created larger hangars to support three aircraft. The ambulance was added in 2004 for inter-hospital transports to reduce costs and free a helicopter for emergency transports.
As of 2009, the Med Flight fleet includes two Eurocopter EC 135 helicopters, N235UW and N435UW. N435UW replaced N135UW, which was destroyed in a fatal crash on May 10, 2008. In July 2007 the EC 135 helicopters, costing $4 million each and currently operated and maintained by Air Methods, replaced two Agusta A109E 'Power' helicopters, two of which were N1UW and N12UW, operated and maintained by CJ Systems Aviation Group.
On May 10, 2008, helicopter N135UW, known as Med Flight 1, crashed near La Crosse, Wisconsin, fatally injuring all three crew members. Initial reports indicated that the helicopter "may have flown into a hill and or struck some trees." Impact debris and rotor blade fragments were found near the top of the 1,160 feet elevation ridgeline about 4.5 miles south of La Crosse Airport. Main debris was located 600 feet below that point around 930 feet elevation. La Crosse Municipal Airport field elevation is 654 feet. On September 3 of 2010 the NTSB released its report, finding that the probable cause of the accident was, "The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from trees along the top of a ridgeline due to inadequate preflight planning, insufficient altitude, and the lack of a helicopter terrain awareness and warning system."
- Wachowski, Elizabeth (2005-12-02). "Wisconsin Med Flight Program Celebrates 20 Years". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
- "Emergency Response Teams, UW Health, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, UW Physicians, Madison". Retrieved 2007-07-29.
- TIME-TESTED AT 20 ; FOR TWO DECADES, UW MED FLIGHT HAS TAKEN TO THE AIR TO BRING THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF CARE; ELIZABETH WACHOWSKI. Wisconsin State Journal. Madison, Wis.: Dec 1, 2005. pg. A.1
- AIR AMBULANCES ; UW MED FLIGHT HAS NEW DIGS ON EIGHTH-FLOOR ROOF; ANITA CLARK. Wisconsin State Journal. Madison, Wis.: Nov 3, 2005. pg. B.1
- FOR UW HOSPITAL, ITS FIRST AMBULANCE ; IT WILL ALWAYS HAVE A DOCTOR ON BOARD, AND IT WILL FREE THE MED FLIGHT HELICOPTERS FOR 911 EMERGENCIES.; Lesley Rogers Barrett. Wisconsin State Journal. Madison, Wis.: Aug 6, 2004. pg. B.1
- AgustaWestland A109E Power - Production List.
- "UW Hospital Adds 2 Helicopters". Retrieved 2007-07-29.
- "Air Methods Corporation Confirms Fatal Accident in Wisconsin". Retrieved 2008-05-11.[dead link]
- MED FLIGHT MAKES EMERGENCY LANDING; Wisconsin State Journal. Madison, Wis.: Jul 29, 2006. pg. B.3
- Grooms, Autumn (2008-05-11). "Three dead in Med Flight helicopter crash". La Crosse Tribune. Retrieved 2008-05-11.
- NTSB preliminary report, ID CHI08FA128 (PDF) (text)
- "NTSB Factual Report on N135UW". ntsb.gov. Retrieved 05/10/2013.