April | 2021
Local flavor graces LifeSave Transport at SLN: owner Air Methods nearly nationwide
LifeSave Transport's Salina clinical lead, Cassie Markley, poses with an air ambulance helicopter April 16 at Salina Regional Airport. (Photo by Tim Unruh)
Tim Unruh
April 2021

Change has greeted LifeSave Transport air ambulance service at Salina Regional Airport, with a new owner and aircraft.
The mission to serve around the clock, care for and swiftly fly patients to hospitals, has not diminished, although the pandemic has injected other duties.
LifeSave was purchased this past December by Air Methods, headquartered in Englewood, Colo., with air medical transport bases in most of the United States. The company employs more than 5,000 people.
Locations in Kansas will continue to operate as LifeSave Transport, said Cassie Markley, R.N., the clinical base lead, who manages the service at SLN.
The Salina base has added a new Astar 350 helicopter, equipped for critical care air transport.

The Salina location is staffed by crew members primarily from central and north-central Kansas.
“I’m a local girl, and love being able to serve the people and community where I grew up. We’re very happy with the choice,” said Markley, (her first name pronunciation sounds like Casey). She’s a 1990 graduate of Abilene High School.
The original company was founded by Dr. Martin Sellberg, who hails from the McPherson area.

Two pilots live in Salina, one in Lindsborg, and one in Manhattan. Flight nurses and paramedics are from the Salina and Wichita areas.
“In our line of work, that’s a normal commute,” Markley said. “The pilots share staffing responsibilities and are able to go home many nights.”
The Salina location opened in August 2019 in Hangar 504 just south of the air traffic control tower, at 2013 Kneubuhl Court, complete with living quarters necessary for the 24/7 service.

Crews have been flying up to three times a day, Markley said, and the Salina base logs as many as 20 flights a month.  
“Things are really blossoming, and we’re still developing relationships in the area. It’s very positive,” Markley said.
LifeSave / Air Methods just finished a mock drunk driving exercise at Sacred Heart High School, with the Salina Fire Department and several other agencies.
Air Methods offers rotor and fixed wing air ambulance services in more than 45 states, including Hawaii.
Regionally, helicopters and crews are based in Salina, Emporia, Dodge City, and Colby, with fixed wing aircraft in Wichita, Garden City, McCook, Neb., and Austin, Texas. 
A 24-hour crew consists of two of the four pilots and medical staff, usually a flight nurse and a paramedic. Occasionally, however, two nurses will go on a mission.
LifeSave regions are typically within a 100-mile radius of the base of operations, but the crews are not solely confined to them. At times, Markley said, Salina flights will venture to other areas, such as when the Emporia base is busy and needs help.
“We do interfacility transfer, hospital to hospital, when someone is sick or hurt or for example, having a heart attack and we need to get them to a cath lab. Maybe we’ll fly from Ellsworth to Salina,” she said. “There are also scene flights, such as for car accidents. We have highways all round us and rural settings. We fly for a lot of outside accidents such as ATV and farm accidents.”
The pandemic has added to the workload, Markley said, especially for fixed wing flights.

“Because of the availability of hospitals, with many of them full, you have to fly further, like to KU Med (University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kan.),” she said. “to be able to provide the best possible care for our patients, in the safest manner.”
Dave Tarleton, a member of the LifeSave maintenance staff, inspects the rotor assembly early April 16 in the company hangar at Salina Regional Airport. (Photo by Tim Unruh)
Tower Update

Another April came and went with snow showers – seems to be the norm now – but was the best kind of snow in spring, here and gone in the same day. However, weather has not had a significant effect on flying … numbers are still rising and some signs of new voices over the radio that seemed somewhat dormant until recent days. Hope your flight(s), experiences were favorable ones.

Please feel free to submit a survey anytime at: https://atctower.com/service-survey/

Early in May we will be filling a vacancy that we have had since last July with a controller who comes to us with 10-years service in the Air Force and another 10 years time in the contract world just recently returning from Kabul Afghanistan. He and his family will be joining our team from the Colorado area and his initial exposure to Salina will be impacted with lots of activities scheduled. He was given choices and he picked Salina over them because of our operation here, which is a definite plus for us. He is looking at new builds in the area and has also been a published writer with Plane and Pilot Magazine.

COVID-19 is hopefully coming to conclusion soon and we are hopeful that tower tours may be an option again – we will update on those possibilities after we see how the mask mandate lessons in the coming days-weeks. If you are interested feel free to call. Until next time, thank you for the flying that you do.

Be safe-fly often and to those that it applies, Happy Mother’s Day…

Scott Hillegeist
Air Traffic Manager
Salina (SLN) FCT
Feature Facility

Building 520, Unit E
2775 Arnold Avenue

The Salina Airport Authority has available for lease, a 2,886 sq. ft. building located in the heart of the Airport Industrial Center. Building 520, Unit E is move in ready and the perfect size for any business or organization needing warehouse space along with offices.

Commonly known as Building 520, Unit E, this well maintained facility is located at 2775 Arnold Avenue and features 1,762 sq. ft. of warehouse space and 1,124 sq. ft. of office space.

Call the Salina Airport Authority today at (785) 827-3914 to schedule a tour, or email shellis@salair.org.

On the Flightline at America's Fuel Stop
Operations at Salina Regional Airport - April 2021
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