Army medevac pilots practice at new Amberg landing pad
By MICHAEL S. DARNELL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 29, 2016
AMBERG, Germany — Medevac pilots maneuvered UH-60 Black Hawks over this town on Monday as part of a mission to familiarize themselves with a new landing pad atop a clinic that treats seriously injured soldiers.
First Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment, Black Hawks flew over the normally quiet town of Amberg to practice landing on the recently built pad at the St. Marien Clinic.
The clinic and the Bavarian government funded the new pad in order to provide a larger and closer landing place for medical helicopters. It will be a boon to civilian and military patients, German as well as American, said Maj. James Tullis, commander of the regiment’s Company C.
“The Amberg hospital previously had a landing pad that was approximately a half a mile to the northwest of the hospital,” Tullis said. “Well now the hospital has opened up a new pad that is right on top of one of the wings of the hospital, so this facilitates a quicker turnaround of patient drop off at the hospital.”
Marc Bigalke, the clinic’s head of civil protection, said the new landing pad will save about 10 minutes off the time it takes to get a patient from the helicopter to the emergency room — for patients in critical condition, every minute counts.
While soldiers who need to be medevaced from the Grafenwoehr Training Area are generally taken to closer facilities in Weiden, they are sometimes airlifted to the Amberg clinic, Tullis said.
Monday’s was the first of four flights the unit will undertake in the next three months to give all its pilots time to practice landing on the clinic roof.
Reporter Marcus Kloeckner contributed to this report.