Classic Air Medical and Valley View celebrate five-year partnership
Kids and adults alike were treated to a special fly over and landing by the Classic Air Medical helicopter at Sayre Park on Tuesday. The flight crew and Valley View Hospital celebrated their five-year partnership as well as the addition of the new twin-engine helicopter acquired last year.
The two engines on the Bell 429 helicopter provides crucial power and performance for flying in the mountains. The chopper is also equipped with an onboard engine fire suppression system and an autopilot system that helps decrease the task load for the pilot in unexpected adverse weather conditions.
The larger cabin space in the Bell 429 allows the medical crew to more efficiently perform critical interventions for patients in flight.
“Now we can load the patient, commence transport to the destination, perform procedures while en route saving crucial time to definitive care which maximizes the utility of the helicopter,” said Classic Air Medical Flight Paramedic Reed Clawson.
Because of the additional power with the double engines the flight to Denver from Glenwood Springs is faster and can be made in under an hour.
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“This essentially keeps our small mountain community connected in rapid time with access to larger medical centers. Currently, it is the only twin engine helicopter ambulance operating in the state,” Clawson said.
Five years of flying
Since starting operations in Glenwood Springs at Valley View Hospital five years ago, Classic Air Medical has flown over 900 patients and has successfully developed a high-risk obstetrical transport program. In the past a specialty maternal team from outside would have had to fly high-risk pregnancies.
Classic Air has also been able to implement a program with Valley View Hospital to transport blood products on all 911 flights.
“The laboratory at the hospital maintains the product in a ready state so that the flight crew can grab and go,” Clawson said. “This is proven to be time efficient and beneficial for trauma patients.”
During Interstate 70 closures in Glenwood Canyon, Classic Air has been able to shuttle hospital staff over the canyon as well as conduct survey flights with the city of Glenwood Springs and Garfield County officials to assess the scope of the damage.
“Being a community-centric helicopter program, we have the flexibility to assist in other ways when we are not conducting our primary mission flights,” Clawson said. “People will be happy to know that Valley View isn’t paying for the helicopter or the crew. It’s an open partnership between the hospital and Classic Air that benefits the community by allowing the hospital to focus on their resources elsewhere to expand their scope of care, while also keeping us connected with access to larger hospitals.”
Visual Journalist Chelsea Self can be reached at 970-384-9108 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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It may be by a technicality, but the Valley Valkyries 7s rugby club were the de facto champions of their hosted tournament this weekend.