Medical Pilot: A Day in the Life
A pilot who flies medical airplanes must be ready to go at a moment's notice. The following is an example of what a medical aviator might experience when flying a medical mission.
Many medical pilots have days during which they are "on-call." If the pilot is called during this time, he or she must drop what they are doing and immediately head to the airport. The company dispatcher will inform the pilot of the mission, and brief him or her on where they will be flying. Once he or she has arrived at the airport, a weather check must be made and a flight plan filed. The pilot performs a pre-flight inspection of the aircraft to be flown, climbs aboard, and takes off. While on a medical mission, medical airplanes are given a callsign such as "LifeGuard" or "LifeFlight." This lets air traffic controllers know that the pilot is on an urgent mission. Air traffic control can then give preference to that flight, helping to speed the airplane to its destination.
The pilot may have to fly the medical airplane to a different airport to pick up a package of blood, or an organ. Generally, an individual from the hospital sending the blood or organ will be waiting for the pilot when they land. After picking up the package, the pilot takes off again, wasting no time on the ground. The pilot may then have to fly across the country - wherever the blood is needed.
When the destination airport has been reached, another person will be waiting (sometimes an ambulance) to pick up the package. The blood is then spirited off to the hospital where it is needed, and the pilot is free to fly the medical airplane home.