June 26, 2013

Connected In The Sky




By Angel MedFlight Contributor


You know how frustrating it can be to climb into an airplane and be told by the flight attendant it's time to power off all electronic devices.  For without Wi-Fi, that can mean hours without being connected to the outside world. That loss of connectivity is a thing of the past with Angel MedFlight and our Part 135 charter holder Aviation West Charters. Soon, our entire fleet of jets will be wired for internet access.

Aviation West Charters dba Angel MedFlight owns and maintains a fleet of aircraft that includes Learjets plus the newest addition to our fleet, the Citation X. The latest of our jets to be Wi-Fi ready is the Learjet N160AJ which is due out of maintenance Friday.

Brandon Kearns is Director of Flight Operations and says having all of our planes Wi-Fi equipped has many benefits noting that  patients and their families plus charter passengers will be able to do work, coordinate with their home office and send and receive emails. "They'll be able to receive time critical information and never be out of reach," says Kearns. "Whether they're on the ground or in flight, they're going to always be able to stay connected. It's like creating an environment of a mobile office."
For Angel MedFlight air ambulance transports, Wi-Fi will not only give flight nurses added connectivity with our flight coordinators and Medical Director on the ground, but offer an added convenience to their families during medical flights.

How does a jet cruising anywhere from 400 to almost 700 miles per hour keep a Wi-Fi signal? Kearns says it's similar to the same technology that we use every day in our cars. But our jets have two types of Wi-Fi systems. First, they have the ground-based system which works off towers (similar to how your  smartphone connects to the 3G or 4G networks). The jets also have satellite Wi-Fi which is used mostly for international flights when the aircraft is out over the ocean.
Along with having Wi-Fi added, Kearns says our Learjet N160AJ has been undergoing the mandatory required maintenance that the airplanes "must have under our strict maintenance program, ensuring the safety of the airplane."

The Citation X is also Wi-Fi equipped and is in the process of getting other modifications as well including avionics and increased performance capabilities. This aircraft will get the winglet mod which Kearns says "improves the operational efficiency of the airplane in terms of fuel burn and increases the actual range capabilities."

"Adding Wi-Fi to our fleet of jets not only benefits patients but makes our entire operation more efficient,"  says Angel MedFlight Chief Operating Officer Ratislav "Rusty" Valko. Kearns says the new Wi-Fi capability benefits the pilots and allows medical crews to be able to relay time-critical patient information in real time.

Wi-Fi connectivity for patients in need of critical care is another example of how Angel MedFlight, a Phoenix air ambulance company with worldwide reach, is always working to improve how we care for our patients.

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