Trinity Health’s critical care helicopter, NorthStar Criticair, is undergoing inspection and repairs following an event January 22 atop Trinity Hospital.
On Wednesday afternoon, NorthStar was dispatched to pick up a flight team at the hospital and continue on a transport mission. The pilot made a normal approach to the hospital’s helipad but upon landing detected a vibration in the aircraft’s controls. Following safety precautions, the pilot shut down the aircraft and cancelled the flight.
An initial inspection revealed damage to the tail section of the aircraft, rendering it unsuitable for flight. The damage was sustained during the approach, when the aircraft tail came in contact with the safety netting around the landing pad.
On Thursday, the helicopter was lowered to a transport trailer from the helipad using a crane. Executive Air Taxi Corporation, fixed base operator of the NorthStar Criticair helicopter, coordinated the aircraft’s removal from the helipad for necessary inspection and repairs.
While the helipad and helicopter are unavailable during subsequent investigation and assessment, Community Ambulance will coordinate patient transfers with regional air ambulances at the Minot airport.
Established in 1992, NorthStar Criticair’s helicopter provides hospital-to-hospital transfers and scene response within a 150-mile radius of Trinity Hospital in Minot, for adult, pediatric, high-risk neonate, and high-risk labor/delivery patients. Last year alone, NorthStar completed 421 flights, all incident-free. Since its inception 28 years ago – after thousands of flight hours and saving thousands of lives – NorthStar Criticair has maintained a perfect safety record. Trinity Health is proud of this record and of NorthStar’s vital role in the region’s trauma and emergency response.