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MY 2 CENTS’ WORTH


BUT WE’VE ALWAYS DONE IT THIS WAY


HAS ANYONE EVER SAID TO YOU, “BUT WE’VE ALWAYS DONE IT THIS WAY”? IT’S A COMPLACENCY TRAP THAT ONCE HELD THE POTENTIAL FOR DIRE CONSEQUENCES FOR FIVE OF US EMPLOYED AS HEMS PILOTS 


I was new to the organization, standing on the bridge of the king’s yacht with the chief pilot. We were both looking half a mile away through binoculars as he explained the approach to the hospital helipad.       in the GPS, which is the wall at the edge of the palace grounds. Once you reach it, you’ll make a left 90-degree dogleg turn,  your right while staying well clear of that 





“You’ll want to stay between the construction cranes and the stadium until you see those rockets on sticks. See  held up on long poles in the center of a roundabout on the other side of another wall.





“The helipad sits just this side of them. To  on sticks making a hard-left turn aiming toward the coast while keeping a close eye on the towers and construction cranes 


Looking over at him, I lowered my binoculars. “Why don’t we just get 


8 August 2015


He shook his head, “Can’t do it. I’ve been told if we ask to practice landing there, 


  


“Nope, that’s just how it is because we’ve always


Because I was new I didn’t want to upset the status quo. My only reply was, “God help us if we’re called to go in there at night in bad weather, having never been  let this be the last heard from me on the subject.


A month later, the chief pilot went to the U.K. to check up on our second 214ST that had gone through extensive maintenance. That’s when I asked the No. 2 in charge, Don Williams, if he’d be willing to call the general at J-Base to ask permission to land at the helipad. Don immediately called the general.


       enthusiastically. “Why haven’t you called 


So much for plotting a coup.


 to the helipad at J-Base, grateful for the opportunity to check the best approach routing into and out of the hospital. However, the most important piece of information came when the general asked a shocking question: “You do know that J-Base is the backup hospital for the king





We were stunned. For years the pilots  We asked the general, “Where do we take 


 


The following day Don called the hospital administrator at King Fahd who asked, “Why haven’t you requested to land here  was he going to say: “I thought you’d think 


The day we landed the king’s shiny Bell 214ST helicopter at the hospital, it was        excitement. I imagine everyone who was able to leave their posts in the hospital came out to watch this special event: paramedics, nurses, doctors, ambulance crews, etc. When we exited the helicopter, the hospital administrator rushed over welcoming us with a huge smile, open arms, a hearty handshake, and even gave us both a big hug. Everyone was patting each other on the back, handing out business cards, and inspecting the helicopter’s interior. I wouldn’t have been surprised if there had been clowns, cotton candy, and helium balloons.


We practiced landing there at night too. So now all the pilots: Don Williams, Johnny Grantham, Stuart Gatherer, and myself (everyone except the chief pilot who was still in England) was current landing day and night at J-Base and King Fahd Hospital. We could now say with hand


By Randy Mains


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