Nightingale's first operational flight under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) from Sentara Norfolk General Hospital to Sentara Albemarle Medical Center in Elizabeth City took place in cloudy weather on Thursday, January 3rd, 2019. A vascular patient with an aortic alert was safely transferred to Sentara Norfolk General.
Nine sites in Eastern Virginia and northeast North Carolina are now fully operational for Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) landings by the Nightingale Regional Air Ambulance. The FAA designation creates designated airspace, allowing flights in cloudy, rainy weather which had to be turned down under current Visual Flight Rules (VFR) limitations. IFR allows Nightingale to meet ground ambulances at designated safe sites in poor weather rather than remote scenes.
IFR development over two years was funded by a grant from the Sentara Foundation Hampton Roads, which included targeted gifts from donors in host communities. These gifts included $40,000 from private donors on the Eastern Shore. Also, Currituck County, North Carolina, appropriated $25,000 from its tourism fund to support two IFR sites at the Corolla and Carova EMS stations.
The IFR sites include:
- · Sentara Norfolk General Hospital (Nightingale’s base)
- · Sentara Obici Hospital (Suffolk)
- · Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center
- · Isle of Wight County Rescue Squad (Smithfield, VA)
- · Campbell Field (Northampton County, Eastern Shore)
- · Sentara Albemarle Medical Center (Elizabeth City, NC)
- · Outer Banks Hospital (Nags Head, NC)
- · Corolla Fire Station (Corolla, NC)
- · Carova Beach Volunteer Fire & Rescue Station (Carova, NC)
Nightingale conducts 700+ flights per year. That number may increase under IFR operations due to fewer turn-downs for weather.
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