How Safe Are LifeFlight Helicopters in the Valley? - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

How Safe Are LifeFlight Helicopters in the Valley?

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LifeFlight choppers are common, especially here in the Valley; Sanford LifeFlight uses their helicopters frequently, flying 600-700 times a year just out of Fargo.


     It can be a dangerous job. In early December, a LifeFlight helicopter crashed outside of Chicago killing all three on board; less than a month later, two other medical choppers crashed on January 2, just eight hours apart. One crashed in Oklahoma, injuring all four on board; the other, in Iowa, killed the three-person crew. 

So, how are Fargo crews staying safe?

Tim Meyer, Director of Sanford Emergency Air Transport: "Everyday we get requests, and we turn a lot of those flights down based on the weather, because we have to be perfect every time, and operating in Fargo for nearly thirty years we have been perfect. " 

Meyer accredits their successful track record to experienced crews and a helicopter with some of the most advanced, state-of-the-art technology. Sanford LifeFlight flies the EC-145, equipped with night vision goggles, forward projection radar, and even satellite weather radar to monitor conditions in-flight.

Chad Erickson, Lead Sanford Life Flight Pilot: "Weather and the ability to interpolate weather is probably the most important thing we do; second is being able to assign a risk value to the different types of flights we accomplish."

Sanford currently flies out of Fargo, Sioux Falls, and Bemidji, and has plans to add a helicopter in Bismarck.


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