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Personal minimums for HEMS Pilots

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I am working on a scenario and trying to justify a decision to either accept a dispatch call. I am curious to know if any HEMS pilots out there would mind sharing their company or personal limitations as far as weather goes, being mostly interested in ceilings/visibility, turbulence/winds and so on. Thanks in advance.

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"When in doubt, chicken out", period, whether or not somebody else agrees.

GOM minimums are the company's limits on conditions in which you CAN'T accept dispatch or continue a flight. A021 is, generally speaking, the minimums most companies apply.

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The company minima are set in the ops specs, and you can't legally fly in worse weather. Whether you can take a flight if the weather is above those minima is a decision you have to make, based on the weather pattern and your personal experience. You have to turn down the flight if the weather is below minimums, but you don't have to take it if the weather is above minimums. If your supervisors discipline you for turning down a flight for weather, you're working for the wrong company. I may take a flight today with the weather just above limits, and turn it down tomorrow, based on what I think the weather is going to do later. If there has been a frontal passage and the weather is clearing behind it but it's still marginal, I'm much more likely to go than if the front hasn't arrived but the weather is still good at the base but low ceilings/visibility are likely later. The only hard personal limits I personally have are those written in the ops specs, and it's a judgment call as to whether I take a flight with better weather.

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Area Local Cross Country Local Cross Country (A021

Condition Ceiling-visibility


Day 800-2 (non mount. local) 800-3 (non mount. XC) 800-3 (local mount.) 1000-3 (xc mount.)


Night - Equipped with Night Vision Imaging System (NVIS) or Terrain Awareness

Warning System (TAWS)


800-3 ( non mount. local) 1000-3 (non mount. xc) 1000- 3 ( mount. local) 1000-5 (mount. xc)


Night - Without NVIS or TAWS


1000-3 (non mount. local) 1000-5 (non mount. xc) 1500-3 (mount. local) 1500-5 ( mount. xc)




But then you have some IFR programs who how have to comply with the minimums for the approach into airports (ILS,GPS,VOR,NDB) or into hospitals (GPS). GPS approach minimums into hospitals are be in the neighborhood of 300ft - 500ft and vis in the neighborhood of 1/2sm.


But all that depends on the terrain/obstacles/towers/other airports around the hospital and what minimums the FAA feels comfortable with for every single privately own hospital approach . Icing /freezing levels are also a factors we have to keep in mind when we go ifr at day/night.


But every pilot has their own personal minimums. So some flights will be turned down due to your personal minimums and normally nobody questions your decision.

These flights will then be entered into. www.weatherturndown.com so other ems pilots on duty can see that you turned it down. That way the other pilot can use that information for his decision making in case he gets at flight request from the same requester that i just turned down.

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To those that replied, thank you for the help. Great info for my scenario and also gave me some things to think about while creating my own personal minimums for training (obviously much higher). Also, I have read a little bit about how some HEMS pilots using a color code (Green-Go/Yellow-Maybe/Red-No) for weather decision making. Has anyone used this method or is it preferential to use a Go/No-Go system?

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The color code system is to give dispatch some idea of your status:

Green means I'll most likely be able to accept a request;

Yellow implies a higher probability of declining a request

Red is an almost definite decline.

The decision to accept follows an evaluation of what actually exists at that point and throughout the proposed transport, regardless of status declared to dispatch, green, yellow or red. If you're tempted to accept dispatch because it's "green" but you're uncomfortable with the situation that actually exists, then that system, or ANY risk assessment system, is counter-productive.

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I almost never give green status at night. I always want to be able to check weather before accepting a flight, no matter what. My company has no red status, only green and yellow. Green means dispatch can assume we will take all flights, and yellow means they have to ask us before accepting a flight. If the customer has to wait while I check weather, so be it. It doesn't take that long in most cases. I may still turn down a flight even though my status was green, but I try to stay on top of weather changes. Stuff still can sneak up on you, though. I have no personal red/yellow/green or go/no go system, it all depends on what I see at the time, and what the trends are.

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