LifeFlight 10 (airplane) opened in Nashville in 2004. The fixed wing aircraft is another component of Vanderbilt’s comprehensive transport program. Each year, our fixed wing program transports patients to destinations in the United States. Whether the patient transport flight is elective or emergent, our aircraft is available seven days a week.
Our medically configured Pilatus PC-12 has a range of 1,742 miles, can cruise at altitudes of up to 30,000 feet and at speeds approaching 300 miles per hour. The PC-12 can take-off from, and land on, runways as short as 3,000 feet, making it an ideal aircraft for use in rural communities. The Pilatus PC-12 has an extra wide 53-inch cargo door for easy loading and unloading of medical equipment and patients, including bariatric patients.
Our program utilizes dedicated pilots for the fixed wing aircraft. The medical crew configuration is dependent upon the patient needs, and includes a matrix of flight nurses, flight paramedics, physicians, nurse practitioners, and respiratory therapists. Our typical matrix includes one flight nurse and one flight paramedic. All staff are highly trained and certified in multiple disciplines of emergency medicine, advanced invasive procedures, and advanced ICU skills such as intraaortic balloon pump therapy. The flight crew has access to the expert physicians at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt for collaborative management during transport.
Types of Care
The flight crew is trained to transport neonatal, pediatric, and adult patients, as well as high risk obstetrics, multisystem trauma and burn patients, and organ transplant recipients. The program also performs repatriation flights. The aircraft is equipped with a multi-function ventilator, cardiac monitors, medical oxygen, compressed medical air, IV pumps, and an array of medications.
With one phone call, the entire flight is coordinated, including air and ground transportation. Bedside-to-bedside arrangements are made by a dedicated flight coordinator experienced in assisting facilities with transport of patients with critical care needs. LifeFlight will coordinate insurance or pre-payment arrangements, and will provide written proposals upon request. Family members or companions can fly with the patient at no additional charge. LifeFlight continually monitors the flight path using satellite tracking and flight phones, and keeps in constant communication with the flight team, referring facility, accepting facility and patient’s family.
Ventricular Assist Devices
Vanderbilt LifeFlight’s Fixed Wing division can also transports patients with a ventricular assist device.
A Vanderbilt cardiac perfusionist is available 24/7 to accompany the flight team for all VAD transports. This service is available for transports to or from any facility.
Fixed wing transportation services are provided by Air Methods. All medical care is provided by Vanderbilt University Medical Center.