Leelanau County First Responders Train With New Medical Helicopter

First responders often have precious little time to save lives.

They say a new helicopter in Northern Michigan will help more people survive.

The two-engine North Flight Aero Med helicopter came to Traverse City in July.

On Wednesday, it landed at The Leelanau School in Glen Arbor to train with local first responders.

And give students an up-close look at their work.

9&10’s Caroline Powers and Jeremy Erickson have more details on how the resource is helping save lives.

“I was like yes. I get to learn. I get to learn more. I’m excited for this,” says Caitlyn Leeson.

Caitlyn Leeson says watching the North Flight Aero Med helicopter land on her school’s soccer field Wednesday was something she has been looking forward to.

“For me this is exciting because I want to learn how to fly. This is something I’ve been interested in doing for a few years now,” Leeson says. “I’m really glad that I was able to come watch it land and now I get to go talk to the pilots.”

This helicopter is a new resource for the area.

In the air since July, it’s something the Glen Lake Fire Department has already relied on.

“It takes us about 40 minutes to get to Munson from here, where they can get there flying with two engines a lot quicker,” says Lt. Bill Parker. “Inside the helicopter they carry blood now and they have a lot more resources that were not allowed to deal with that they can.”

Getting to accidents on the ground isn’t always easy, and with the clock ticking having a resource like this in the sky can make a lifesaving difference.

“It’s been really busy summer. Since July 1 we’ve been flying easily a patient a day,” says pilot Keelan McNulty. “We fly kind of a mobile ER in a way. A mobile ICU. We have two trauma bags, and then obviously a monitor and then just more space, like I was saying before, more space to work on that patient.”

“It’s nice knowing that they’re out there because I’ve lived in a lot of places where sometimes it’s not always easy to get medical access,” Leeson says. “So knowing that these guys are out there, it’s reassuring.”