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MedCenter Air by the numbers and some Dos and Don'ts

By the numbers…
It takes 10 minutes for the helicopter to warm-up.
It’s an 8-minute flight from Morganton where the helicopter is housed.
Some pilots are nearing the 10,000-hour mark for flight time.
The MedCenter Air has 5 mechanics of staff — all former Marines.
The MedCenter Air averages 140 flights a month.
10 minutes is the goal for the helicopter to land, load and take off when transporting patients.

Do…
...wait until the pilot signals you with a thumbs-up signal before approaching the helicopter.
...just push the button on your phone that will dial up a communications specialist with MedCenter Air.
...remember that the pilots of these helicopters have at least 3,000 hours of flight experience and they know what they’re doing.

Don’t…
...forget that those rotors are going very, very fast (the top goes about 364 rpm and the back rotor hits about 1884 rpm) and if you’re not paying attention it’s easy to get too close.
(Remember that ER episode where Dr. Ramona got his arm cut off??)
...forget to strap down everything as if a hurricane was coming. When it’s landing at full throttle the helicopter can put out winds of 130 mph (which is the top speed of a category 3 hurricane.)
...be on the helipad if you aren’t trained staff and helping transport a patient. The helipad is a tempting place to hangout -- great views, nice sun and no one to bother you. All well and good until you're in the way of a very loud chopper and a very angry pilot.

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