Town Invites Pegasus; Farmville Points To Helipads At Airport

Published 3:41 pm Monday, February 16, 2015

FARMVILLE — The University of Virginia Health System’s Pegasus program is interested in expanding to a second helipad location and Town officials hope those wings are spread from the Farmville Regional Airport.

Farmville Mayor David E. Whitus told town council Wednesday night that UVA has been contacted by the Town and has agreed to visit the airport, though no date has been set.

Pegasus provides care to critically ill or injured patients and the program was founded in 1984. The helicopter is a powerful Agusta 109E Power helicopter with a twin engine, equipped with color weather radar and night vision goggles for all flights conducted at night, according to the program’s website.

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Medical crew members consist of a registered nurse and a critical care paramedic, the crew trained in all aspects of emergency care, with the capability to transport all types of patients, according to the website.

“All medical crew members maintain advance life support certifications in cardiac, trauma, and pediatric care,” with other certifications in intra-aortic balloon pumps, ventricular assist devices and ventilators.

“UVA is looking to potentially buy another helicopter and they’re looking for locations and we have made them aware of what we have at the airport,” Mayor Whitus told council members. “We have two helipads and we have lots of amenities out there that should be appealing to them and they have agreed to come down and tour our facilities and take a look.”

Whitus referenced an article in The Farmville Herald about the possibility of a staging site for an additional Pegasus helicopter. That news story focused on a Buckingham County location.

The mayor told The Herald that the airport, located in Cumberland County, “just makes a lot of sense to me…We’re not trying to take anything away from Buckingham. It just makes more sense. There’s two helipads out there. There’s staff out there during the day. There’s fuel out there.”

Noting the Farmville airport would be centrally located to the service area, Mayor Whitus said, “I think it would be thrilling to have a medical helicopter at our airport, really advantageous.”

Town officials said that Centra has no objection and does not view the Pegasus program as being in competition with its own helicopter medical transport service.

When asked for an official statement, however, Centra spokesperson Diane M. Ludwig told The Herald on Friday, “We have not been contacted by anyone in reference to this proposal. Centra currently owns and operates its own helicopter, Centra One, so we would need to evaluate the potential consequences this might have on our existing services and the communities we support.”