Spectrum Health: Aero Med returned to service

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Spectrum Health’s two medical helicopters were returned to service Tuesday afternoon after being grounded since late last week.

Aero Med was flying again as of 4:15 p.m., according to a release from Spectrum.

Spectrum spokesman Bruce Rossman told 24 Hour News 8 Monday the company decided Thursday night to ground the helicopters after “a potential administrative error.”

Spectrum initially declined to say what that error was, but said in the Tuesday release a training form required by the Federal Aviation Administration had not been completed.

“We had a training document required by the FAA that was not completely and properly filled out, even though the training had been completed and properly executed. The pilots were trained but this document was not entirely correct,” Rossman told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday. “And when we found it, we had to make a quick decision on what to do. So after a little bit of thought, we decided to pull the aircraft, ground them, until we could have conversations with the FAA about how we should proceed.”

Rossman said Spectrum Health had backup paperwork to show the training was done and that one pilot did part of the training again so there would be no doubt. The FAA gave everything the OK, Rossman said, and the helicopters went back into service.

While Aero Med was out of service, Rossman said Monday, Spectrum called upon helicopters from other companies with which it has mutual aid agreements.

“Spectrum Health executives were grateful for the support and understanding from EMS agencies during this time,” the Tuesday release said.

Emergency responders at two Friday and Saturday crashes requested Aero Med, but were told the helicopter was not available. They were not told why.

The Aero Med helicopter that flies out of Gerald R. Ford International Airport operates 24 hours a day. The other helicopter, station in Big Rapids, operates during the 12 peak hours of the day.

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