Carilion Clinic: Helicopter Retrieval Mission Successful

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Helicopter Retrieval Mission Successful

About about 12:30 Saturday afternoon, an National Guard Blackhawk helicopter successfully used a sling to transport a disabled Virginia State Police helicopter from the a rooftop helipad 15 stories above the ground to a nearby hangar for repair.

The operation want exactly as planned - with crews attaching a tether to the disabled aircraft, flying a short distance and setting it gently down on the ground pad. The Blackhawk then made a second trip to the rooftop to retrieve the helicopter's rotor blades, which had been removed for the transport.

Click below for video. (sorry its a bit shaky)

Complicating the delicate operation, Saturday afternoon turned out to be one of the busiest Carilion Clinic Patient Transportation's Air Medical program has seen in recent memory. With the disabled helicopter occupying the rooftop pad and the Blackhawk on the ground pad, Carilion LifeGuard's two helicopters made four trauma flights. Another helicopter program also brougt in a patient bringing the total number of flights to5.

Right - Carilion Lifeguard lifts off for another trama call, with the National Guard Blackhawk in the foreground.

Carilion was able to land LifeGuard 10 on the pad next to the Blackhawk, with LifeGuard 11 and the third helicopter landing in a nearby soccer field. The patients were transported to the Emergency Department by ambulance.

The rooftop pad is now clear and open for air traffic. The disabled State Police helicopter is being repaired in the Carilion LifeGuard hangar.

Many thanks to the National Guard, Virginia State Police, and the Carilion Clinic team that participated in this successful operation!