Air traffic hazards threaten emergency helicopters
As more people operate their own drones, they are increasing air traffic hazards for emergency helicopters.
ThedaStar Air Medical asks drone operators to help keep emergency crew members and patients safe.
According to FAA rules, operators must land their drones when emergency helicopters are arriving or leaving the area.
Operators planning to fly a drone within five miles of any ThedaCare hospital helipad need to contact ThedaStar at 920-729-2114
ThedaStar will ask for personal contact information so they can contact drone operators when an emergency helicopter will be in the area.
Drones must be operated at an altitude of less than 400 feet above ground.
Rules limit drone operation only to daylight hours and must remain in line of sight and must yield right-of-way to manned aircraft, including ThedaStar.
ThedaStar frequently lands near crash scenes so operators should not fly their drones near such sites since it could delay patient care and put the operator at potential legal risk.
Any operator near an accident scene is urged check with law enforcement to see if any air medical provider has been called.
Since drone operators may not know the location of hospital helipads, ThedaStar recommend downloading the FAA’s B4UFLY app to learn where the different sites are located.