Training has begun for Mercy Air pilots and staff at Mesquite Airport as they begin familiarity training on a new helicopter manufactured by Agusta of Italy. The Agusta replaces a 1986 Bell which is showing its age. The Agusta is a twin engine ship that’s faster and more powerful than the outdated Bell unit. “We received the helicopter last Friday from Las Vegas,” said pilot Joe Stout. “Company trainers are here taking us through the Agusta and we should be operational by next week. The Bell was slower and the avionics are up to date technology,” added Stout.
The Mercy Air ship services Mesquite only transporting patients from Beaver Dam, Moapa Valley and Mesquite. Business has increased significantly with most patients being transported to hospitals in Las Vegas although flights to St. George have become more frequent. The Air Mercy crew is transporting between 20 and 25 patents per month.
“We have a crew of three on shift at all times; a pilot, nurse and medic plus two ground mechanics available Monday to Friday,” said Stout, a 15-year helicopter pilot.
With the senior population increasing annually in Mesquite, the availability of life saving equipment, no doubt sets the mind at ease.