By Angel MedFlight Contributor
Angel MedFlight and our Part 135 certificate holder Aviation West Charters has maintained a perfect safety record. As a worldwide air ambulance service, we not only deliver unparalleled patient care, but also peace of mind as our state-of-the-art jets undergo rigorous maintenance checks. We have safety and maintenance standards which exceed FAA requirements.
Dwain Chase is the Director of Maintenance for the combined services of Angel MedFight and Aviation West Charters. With more than 35 years of experience, Chase oversees the maintenance for our expanding fleet of international medical jets. He tells us more about the company’s strong commitment to safety.
Angel MedFlight Contributor: Tell me more about the company’s safety management system.
Chase: The safety management system works not only with what we do but what we have any vendors do that we control. So what we are tying to do is minimize their exposure to mistakes. We make sure that they’re properly rested that they haven’t been working for 24 hours straight. And that they have the proper tools and the training so that people with experience are working on the aircraft for when our aircraft are at outlying airports. Those vendors include anyone who is going to touch the aircraft.
Angel MedFlight Contributor: So anyone that touches our plane, whether it be at a Fixed Base Operator in South Dakota or internationally, they have to meet our strict safety criteria?
Chase: Yes, they have to work to our standards. They have to be able to show that they are properly trained and have the capability to work to our standards. That way we try to mitigate the risks associated with unskilled people working on the aircraft.
Angel MedFlight Contributor: What kind of maintenance schedule are our jets on?
Chase: Our jets are maintained under the AAIP or Approved Aircraft Inspection Program. We take the manufacturer’s program and then we have to add in anything that we have special, so any equipment that we’ve added to the aircraft, whether it’s safety equipment, or medical equipment, we have to add that into a program and then have it approved by the FAA before we can use it. So we take the manufacturer’s standard program, add on additional safety measures and then use that program to maintain the aircraft.
Scheduled maintenance is every 300 hours but we do a progressive inspection as far as when the aircraft when is out operating. Routine services are performed each week. It’s a higher level than what the pilots do on a preflight check. We do this to make sure the aircraft is maintained out there. It doesn’t go out and just run 300 hours and nobody looks at it.
Angel MedFlight Contributor: Why should someone chose Angel MedFlight over other air ambulance carriers?
Chase: We maintain the highest level of safety. We are audited regularly by the FAA. We have an open door policy with the FAA and they come by and visit us at regular intervals. Our goal is to make sure that anytime we are transporting someone, that we have the highest standards and we are making sure at all times the aircraft is mission ready and that there are no glitches that would limit them.
Angel MedFlight Contributor: What did it mean to recently receive the ARGUS Platinum and IS-BAO ratings?
Chase: ARGUS and IS-BAO are separate industry standard auditing services and they are looking at the cream of the crop in Part 135 and Part 121 certificate holders. They go through and check to see that you are not only meeting FAA standards, but as a company, that you have set higher standards and are adhering to those standards. They’ll come around at regular intervals and make sure you are keeping up with those standards.
The Platinum and IS-BAO ratings weren’t a surprise. We expect to be at that standard anyway as we set those standards as a company. We expect that out of all our employees, especially in maintenance.