Local News

Mar 14, 2014 2:39 PM by Sara Donchey

Halo Flight Purchases New $7 Million Helicopter

CORPUS CHRISTI -- The rainy, wet and wicked winter we had was more than an inconvenient, it was detrimental for Halo Flight.

"We would just be sitting on the ground, waiting for the weather to get better," said Tom Klassen, Executive Director of Halo Flight.

Their helicopters can't safely fly in bad weather, but that's all about to change.

Halo Flight has just bought a brand new helicopter--a Bell 429--that's bigger, faster, and capable of flying in foggy or rainy skies.

"We'll be able to fly this aircraft through the clouds, land at the helipad in Alice, and then transfer them in the bad weather to memorial for any kind of trauma or shoreline for a stroke or a heart attack," said Klassen.

But it didn't come cheap.

Although Halo says the $7 million dollar price tag was well worth it.

"If it saves one person, that would be enough for us," said Chief Flight Nurse Randy Endsley. "But it's going to impact literally hundreds--and over time--thousands of lives, actually."

The extra leg room in the new helicopter isn't just for comfort.

It'll let nurses treat their patients from head to toe. In fact, for the first time, they'll be able to transport two patients at a time.

And the 429's twin engines mean a faster flight...and shorter travel time; and for patients--time is precious.

"A couple of minutes can actually mean the difference between life and death," Endsley said. "When you're talking about a trauma patient, that's two or three more minutes that they're not in the operating room."

The new helicopter is currently undergoing final preparations at a shop in Tennessee.

Halo expects to have it up and running by the first week of July.


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