Life Flight Network (LFN), the largest not-for-profit air medical transport service in the United States, announced it is adding a fixed-wing aircraft in Butte, MT. The Pilatus PC-12 turbo-prop aircraft went in-service today.
The fixed-wing aircraft comes just in time for winter weather. Travel across Montana by helicopter can be difficult during winter months. This is especially true when considering longer flights, such as Dillon or Salmon, to Missoula. By adding a fixed-wing aircraft, LFN is better meet the needs of patients locally, and throughout Montana and Eastern Idaho.
Regional Director, Dominic Pomponio stated, “Since opening the Butte helicopter base in January, we have safely transported over 150 patients. Local care providers recognize the need for safe and timely air medical transportation, whether by fixed-wing or rotary wing.” He goes on to say, “Prior to Butte having its own fixed-wing, patients had to wait for a plane to come from much further away. This is no longer the case.”
Basing a fixed-wing aircraft in Butte directly benefits the local economy. The helicopter alone added over $1,000,000 annually in local jobs. The fixed-wing aircraft will bring additional jobs and positive economic impact. Both assets combined add over $1.5 million per year into the local economy.
“We are excited to expand our service in Butte and to the surrounding areas,” states Michael Griffiths, CEO. He adds, “Like the helicopter, the fixed-wing aircraft will undoubtedly save lives.”
LFN now sells memberships in Montana. This is a new concept for many local residents, as very few air medical programs sell memberships in Montana. For a nominal annual fee, members are flown for medically necessary emergent trips, with no out of pocket expense. Membership also helps to support operations in locations where there is a need for air medical transportation, such as Butte. To request more information about the membership program, or if organizations would like an in-person presentation, please contact the LFN membership office at 800-982-9299.