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LifeFlight moves fixed-wing air ambulance base to Lebanon

Mar. 9, 2022, 2:56 PM

The move of Vanderbilt LifeFlight’s fixed-wing air ambulance to Lebanon Municipal Airport allows for quicker response times to emergency requests.
The move of Vanderbilt LifeFlight’s fixed-wing air ambulance to Lebanon Municipal Airport allows for quicker response times to emergency requests. (photo by Josh Bowling)

by Jerry Jones

Vanderbilt LifeFlight has moved its fixed-wing air ambulance from the Nashville International Airport to the Lebanon Municipal Airport.

The move comes as Nashville International Airport continues to grow, and the Lebanon Municipal Airport will allow for crews to respond more quickly to emergency requests. It marks a homecoming of sorts, as LifeFlight had been a fixture at the Lebanon Airport from 2004 to 2020, having a helicopter (LifeFlight 1) based there. That aircraft was moved to Gallatin in 2020.

The Lebanon Municipal Airport was chosen for several reasons including Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s commitment to a growing investment in Wilson County. Vanderbilt has a hospital there, a ground ambulance base and now its airplane base.

“We no longer have to wait in line for someone to pull our aircraft out of the hangar or refuel,” said Keith Evans, MSN, Air Medical transport manager with Vanderbilt LifeFlight. “The Lebanon airport has GPS approach, and its proximity to Nashville, along with less traffic for getting in and out, made it the perfect spot.”

The base has a staff of five pilots, two mechanics and 10 medical crew members. Staff are on site 24/7, ready to respond to any request.

Vanderbilt LifeFlight started offering fixed-wing (airplane) service in 2004 as a component of Vanderbilt’s expanding comprehensive air and ground transport program. The airplane transports patients to destinations in the United States for elective or emergency flights.

The medically configured Pilatus PC-12 has a range of 1,742 miles, can cruise at altitudes of up to 30,000 feet and at speeds approaching 300 miles per hour. The PC-12 can take off from, and land on, runways as short as 3,000 feet, making it an ideal aircraft for use in rural communities. The Pilatus PC-12 has an extra wide 53-inch cargo door for easy loading and unloading of medical equipment and patients, including bariatric patients.

The flight crew is trained to transport neonatal, pediatric and adult patients, as well as high-risk obstetrics, multisystem trauma and burn patients, and organ transplant recipients. The program also performs repatriation flights. The aircraft is equipped with a multifunction ventilator, cardiac monitors, medical oxygen, compressed medical air, IV pumps and an array of medications.

Vanderbilt LifeFlight is operated by VUMC in partnership with Air Methods Corp., a global leader in air medical transport, which provides air operations. Medical and ground ambulance services are provided by VUMC.

Since 1984 Vanderbilt LifeFlight, accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS), has flown more than 40,000 patients.

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