Your daily Letter to the Columnist — Aug. 5, 2013
In Virginia, there are many areas where the state police helicopter operations AND private ops like Air Methods overlap, thus in the event of an accident, the amount a person gets billed is totally dependent on which helicopter arrives at the scene.
Here’s an example: a few years ago there was a large highway accident involving multiple autos and the need for several crash victims to be flown to emergency centers. The victims that were flown using the private carrier, Air Methods, saw huge bills for their transport, yet the victims who flew in the state police helicopter were charged virtually nothing.
This is not an isolated incident, either. If you live in an area that has an overlap in state police helicopter service AND private carriers, it is merely a roll of the dice as to which service you are transported in and thus how much your final costs are.
And trust me, there is pressure applied to the state police to allow the private carriers to handle accident victim flights. Just check into why the state police decided to close their helicopter services at Lynchburg airport AFTER Centra Health signed an agreement to provide private helicopter services to central Virginia, thus locating a private carrier at Lynchburg airport.
These overlaps are very unfair to the general public. This is a well-known fact among the state police and private carriers and it is very unfair to the general public.
Check it out. If possible, please keep me anonymous. I know many pilots with the state police and the private carriers.