If you are on home reserve how long is it required that the operator notify you of a flight before required Take off time? Is there a regulation or documentation to support this or is it operators discretion

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! If you're asking about regulations, please always tell us which country you're interested in. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Nov 20, 2018 at 3:28

2 Answers 2


Medivac pilots (at least the ones in my city) are at the hanger/pad 24/7.

My home field (KPNE) happens to be where some of the medical choppers are stored and dispatched from. In Philadelphia they tend to not be stored at the hospitals. I have met some of the pilots and one of the crew nurses. Where I am the facility is staffed 24/7 much like a road ambulance facility so that as soon as a call comes in they are ready to fly. The helicopters them selves are kept in a hanger, always fueled and alway ready to fly, on these neat rolling carts so that a tug can pull them out as the pilots are getting things squared away in the cockpit.

One of the hospitals in the suburbs keeps their chopper at the hospital (which is fairly close to KDYL) and is avalible 24/7 as well.

I also happen to over look one of the 4 hospital helipads in the city from my home. The pad is generally kept open for arrivals and on a decent weather day that can mean upwards of 10 landings (I have no idea what they are transporting).

I had the pleasure of meeting one of the guys that helped design the Philadelphia Class B. The airspace is specifically designed so that all of the hospitals sit under shelves such that the helicopters can come and go without needing a bravo clearance to expedite their travel times.

Its worth mentioning that ready to fly and will fly are not the same thing and the latter is at the operators discretion. Ultimately the pilots make the go no-go decision and if the weather is dicy rescue teams generally will not fly.


If you’re talking about a life flight operation such as one based at a hospital, the pilots have duty hours where they remain in close proximity with the helicopter and can respond immediately to a call if it comes in.

Response is ultimately up to the pilot in command aboard the helicopter. The flight crew is never told the nature of the emergency to prevent it from influencing their decision to depart, particularly in bad weather. So a call to evacuate someone from an automobile accident receives the same priority as one to say transport a low urgency patient to a hospital for surgery.

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    $\begingroup$ The crews not being told is an intriguing one - that's definitely not the case in the UK and seems a little short sighted. Is that across the whole of the USA? $\endgroup$
    – Dan
    Nov 19, 2018 at 8:27
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    $\begingroup$ Do you have a source on them not being told? I have heard that before as well but still haven't found where it might say that or even if the general public would have access to that information. $\endgroup$
    – Alex
    Nov 19, 2018 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ telegraph.co.uk/news/health/8508956/… is a source about the London Air Ambulance not telling its drivers, but they don't specify if the policy also extends to the pilots. $\endgroup$ Nov 20, 2018 at 0:47
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    $\begingroup$ The reason for doing so is to prevent the urgency of the patients needs from influencing the risk management decisions of the crew, possibly leading to dangerous situations like this youtu.be/51njl0n_dvI $\endgroup$ Nov 20, 2018 at 2:27
  • $\begingroup$ @user1937198 LOL.. the 'Telegraph' is NOT a source of anything... $\endgroup$
    – Cloud
    Nov 20, 2018 at 10:41

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