At 500 feet, an alarm sounds in the cockpit of Mayo One.
It’s the go or no-go point on final approach to the Northfield Hospital helipad, and pilot Rick Koehnen eases out of the descent and banks south for another go-round…
In poor weather, they’re potentially catastrophic obstacles for the aircraft’s patient and crew of three. But that was before the Mayo Clinic had a private contractor use GPS to map the approaches to most of southern Minnesota’s hospitals and guide Mayo One — and its human cargo — safely to the ground.
Medical helicopter flights can quickly whisk patients to and from hospitals. Rochester’s Mayo Clinic is about 90 minutes from Northfield by car, but only about 20 minutes in Mayo One.
Northfield News by Jim Hammerand, 10/9/09