Geisinger introduces new copter, landing zone

Geisinger’s new Life Flight chopper and landing zone in Lock Haven will help its medical center better serve the area.

Spokeswoman Sue Baranik said there is a landing zone in State College near the University Park Airport, but that its Lock Haven location will be more convenient for those hurt in accidents near the Centre-Clinton county, which is closer to Lock Haven.

“We’re always upgrading, all the time,” Baranik said.

“The landing station is just another convenience where individuals can be transported in a timely manner.”

The health system’s twin engine American Eurocopter EC-145 is the fifth EC-145 helicopter in the Life Flight fleet — part of an “ongoing commitment to provide the best quality critical care to residents in central and northeastern Pennsylvania,” according to a statement from Geisinger.

Baranik said the aircraft cost $6.5 million, and the air medical configuration/avionics and night vision goggles were an additional $1.4 million.

Bryce Bason, a senior at Central Mountain High School, came up with the idea of the landing zone for a class project, and it was constructed in partnership with Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Baranik said.

A report from Geisinger said Life Flight crews provide specialized care in cardiology, pediatrics, neonatology, trauma and neurology for up to two patients at a time.

Life Flight averages 2,600 flights a year, and it operates 24 hours a day with a fleet of seven helicopters from bases in Danville, State College, Avoca, Williamsport and Minersville, the Geisinger report said.

Life Flight began serving the State College area in 1993 from the Bellefonte Airport.

In 1998, the program moved to the University Park Airport, Baranik said.