Thursday, November 3, 2011

Some of the contracted British Columbia Air Ambulance planes are the same as the one that crashed at YVR

UPDATE:   or BACKDATE:   the approach by any plane, or helicopter, approaching, flying over or leaving YVR can be found here      Its a software program called Webtrak   eg.   INCLUDING Vancouver's Burrard Inlet's Coal Harbour.    "Real time" is ten minutes ahead of what you see happening on your monitor when you sign into YVR's webtrak program.


Reported in the Vancouver Sun this morning, in regards to the YVR airplane crash of a Northern Thunderbird Air Inc Beechcraft King Air 100, is that aviation authorities in the FAA USA and Canada issued emergency directives for the engine model used by the downed plane six weeks ago.

Coincidentally, some of the BC Air Ambulance flights, use the same plane via a long term contract.  Here's a Ministry of Health BC Ambulance Service announcement from Nov. 2, 2006:


VICTORIA – The British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS) has identified three B.C. companies as the successful proponents to provide fixed-wing aircraft services for its air ambulance program following a competitive solicitation process.

            “Once finalized, these contracts will enhance the BC Ambulance Service air ambulance program as they add a fixed-wing aircraft dedicated to routine medical transfers seven days a week, providing improved support for health authorities,” said Health Minister George Abbott. “This will free up the remaining five aircraft stationed in Kelowna, Prince George and Vancouver to provide essential emergency air ambulance service benefiting patients throughout British Columbia.”

            Contract negotiations will begin next week with:

·        Northern Thunderbird Air Inc. – one turboprop aircraft based in Prince George
·        Helijet International Inc. – one jet aircraft based in Vancouver
·        Carson Air Ltd. – four turboprop aircraft (one airplane based in Kelowna and three based in Vancouver)   (company Ambulance website)

            “These agreements will ensure safe, reliable, and efficient air ambulance services over the next three years,” said Fred Platteel, chief executive officer of the BC Ambulance Service. “Meanwhile, the BCAS is continuing with its ongoing analysis of the air ambulance program as we keep pace with changing patient care needs, aviation technologies, and training.”  Snip

Question Period is about to begin in an hour and a quarter, so here's a question to the Health Minister, the Honourable Mike de Jong:

Question:  Although the plane that crashed at YVR was not on a mission of mercy acting on behalf of BC Air Ambulance, did the Health Ministry receive their memo from authorities regarding the emergency directives whereby contracted Beechcraft King Air 100's should have been examined and followed up with confirmation of their mechanical fitness?

Supplemental question:  Is it a practice of the Ministry of Health to just leave it up to contractors to take care of their planes when it comes to safety issues of a flight or has the Minister of Health gone the extra mile and instructed his Deputy Minister, since 2006, to ensure that the personnel on board an Air Ambulance, including patients and loved ones, are safe from mechanical accidents?

Supplemental question:  It must have been unsettling for the First Responders to the YVR accident last week to discover that the plane they were attending to was in fact the same model that they fly on.  Could the Minister of Health reassure Paramedics, the Public and the Patients (P3s) that he will ensure that it won't happen again, that steps will be taken to prevent another flight accident, whether it be private or public?

The Beechcraft King Air 100 is a comfortable and economical means of transporting smaller groups of people. The Interior can be set up either in a commuter (9 passengers) or executive configuration (7 passengers) and both will still allow 400 pounds of baggage.

A year later, 2007, the BC Government signed another contract:
All requests for air ambulance services are processed through the Provincial Air Ambulance
Coordination Center (PAACC) located in Victoria, B.C. Fifteen emergency medical dispatchers
work at the PAACC.

And, from August 30, 2011.....

Immediate Release 2011PREM0101-001072
Aug. 30, 2011
Office of the Premier Christy Clark
Ministry of Health
BC Ambulance
Service Interior Health

Interior families benefit from dedicated air ambulance


There are four dedicated helicopter air ambulances in the province: two in Vancouver, one in Prince Rupert and now one in Kamloops. Six fixed-wing air ambulances based in Vancouver, Kelowna and Prince George also support the BCAS Critical Care Transport program. 85 per cent of all patient transports by BCAS air ambulances are done by dedicated service providers and the addition of this new asset will increase efficiencies. In addition to the dedicated aircraft, BCAS also utilizes approximately 40 charter ca, provincewide (both airplanes and helicopters) for patient care as needed.
BCAS is responsible for the operation and delivery of the dedicated helicopter air ambulance service. The estimated annual cost for the service is $2.35 million, which will come from within the existing Emergency Health Services Commission’s budget

There is a private company working out of Vancouver International Airport called Executive Air Ambulance.

And, Blackcomb Aviation's   Medivac    Air Ambulance

And from "Helicopters" magazine

Exploits of an Enduring Enterprise

A position report on Helijet Written by Frederick K. Larkin

Dominant Customer - Approximately 40% of the company’s revenues is derived from the government of British Columbia. This business encompasses the air ambulance work, but also includes contributions from Helijet’s other businesses. While government related business is cyclical, it tends to be less volatile than revenues associated with the private sector.


Trexer said...

The BC Ambulance Service does not use Super King Air 100s. The BC Ambulance Service uses Super King Air 350/300s.

North Van's Grumps said...

Thanks for the heads up Trexer

Here's more info from Wikipedia

Ground response Airevac response

The BCAS is responsible for the delivery of air ambulance services throughout the province of British Columbia. There are four dedicated Critical Care Paramedic air bases in BC, located in Richmond, Kelowna, and Prince George at their respective airports (YVR, YLW, & YXS).


The BC Ambulance Service air ambulance fleet consists of six fixed-wing aircraft, five Beechcraft Super King Air 350 turboprops and one Bombardier Learjet 31A jet. Additional aircraft are chartered on an as-needed basis. The BCAS also operates three dedicated air ambulance helicopters. Two Sikorsky S-76 helicopters are based in Vancouver, with a Bell 222 helicopter based in Prince Rupert. Starting in 2011, there will be two Sikorsky 76c+ models in Vancouver and Prince Rupert. In addition, patient transfers are routinely performed by BLS crews in charter aircraft (e.g., Beechcraft King Air 100 turboprops).


The Questions still stand.

arf said...

Hello NVG.

The Beech KIng Air 100 with its P&W engines are some of the most reliable aircraft in the light charter fleet. What would put some of the accident stats up a bit for them is that there are so many in service. Any charter operator that would choose not to comply with an AD from either Transport Canada or the FAA would be taking their Operating Certificate dangerously close to being removed. ADs or Aviation Directives come from incidents or recommendations from manufacturers or parts suppliers for checks or improvements that need to be made. Even the newer/larger/more expensive Kingair 350s that are in service with BC Ambulance have had ADs applied to them, one in particular for the flap system that occurred on an approach for an ambulance flight in Northern BC. The AD system is in place so that if a fault is found in one aircraft every one with that part or system is checked to prevent a recurrence. Operators would not knowingly take the risk of not complying and lose their OC.