Fixed-Wing Service Line
What better way to ring in the New Year than with the expansion of our amazingly important fixed-wing service line! In January, Southern California received its very own King Air 200 and provided the Northern California King Air with a long awaited counterpart to serve customers who require the larger, faster and heavier carrying capacity for their patients.
REACH’s first fixed-wing aircraft came not long after Dr. McDonald founded REACH. He realized early on that FW not only served to back up the rotor side of the house but stood on its own to serve teams and patients needing the longer distance and larger capacity. In 2012 we expanded our fixed-wing services with the merger of Cal-Ore Life Flight, a very well respected, innovative and amazing company – seen by others in our industry as being able to “make it happen when others can’t.”
The best way to get a feel for what our FW service does is to look no further than our Sacramento FW Assistant Chief Pilot, Scott Roemer. Scott came to REACH about ten years ago after flying on the East Coast as a commercial pilot at US Airways Express. He had previously lived in Washington state, loved it, and moved with his family to the West coast. The most important thing for Scott in choosing REACH was finding a culture and job profile that allowed him to keep his family at the center. With a loving wife and four kids, Scott considers his family “big for this day and age.”
Who are Scott’s customers? He starts at the inside and moves out. In Sacramento he serves three other full time pilots and one per diem pilot who is a FW flight instructor as well. There are two full-time FW mechanics and the medical crews who are on rotation at R50 from both the Stockton and Marysville rotor bases. Newly added internal customers for Scott are the four pilots hired for REACH 52 in Thermal, California. Scott has been instrumental in getting them up and running in time to open the base as scheduled.
As for the external customers, Scott admits they run the gamut, including REACH medical crew, specialty teams – but most importantly the patients and their family members. “I try to learn all their names, speak with them throughout the transport and answer any questions they have. It’s a stressful time for them and I try to make it a little easier.”
I asked Scott if a special flight has ever stuck with him and although there is not a specific patient, he does feel the pediatric burn patients evoke a special place. Knowing he is bringing them for highly specialized care for an injury that is so immense is important.
Another flight is brought forth by Scott, and though there was no patient transported there was a mechanical concern of which the REACH medical crew and all the countless hours of safety training assisted him in a time-critical checklist allowing a safe landing for everyone on board.
Dr McDonald would always say – “it is not enough to do your best, you must be prepared to be the best” – this outlook on training and the work we do before its needed is why we can make critical decisions in the moment.
Thank you to Scott and all the Fixed Wing staff for the job you do in maintaining and GROWING this instrumental service line for our customers!