Help From On High
the other door open and his white helmet on. He climbed into the aftfacing seat at the head of the stretcher, then clicked the buckle on the four-point shoulder-lapbelt and snugged it tight. Next, he plugged a black cord dangling from his helmet into the so-called Carter box—a black device the size of a deck of cards connected to the aircraft's communication system. Rylander ducked his head as he slid into the forwardfacing copilot's seat, then he, too, buckled up and plugged in. Both lowered the visors on their helmets before sliding their doors shut and securing the handles. It was cramped in back, but that allowed for easy access to the neatly stowed equipment and supplies, including the green and chrome oxygen valves mounted on both interior sides.
Another DHART crewmember always helps with preflight operations from the tarmac. That day, paramedic Jason Johns, wearing regulation ear protection, stood next to the big APU, or auxiliary power unit, plugged into the right side of the aircraft. He was waiting for Clark to start the engines; this saved battery power for restarts away from the hangar. As the rotors slowly began to spin, Johns unplugged the black cable from the side of the helicopter and wheeled the APU to the edge of the landing pad, 40 feet away. Now standing at the nose of the aircraft, he waited for Clark to give him the "thumbs-up" signal while he kept an eye on both the aircraft and the surrounding area to be sure everything was secure for takeoff—no compartment doors ajar, nothing hanging from the aircraft, no other personnel on the helipad.
Clark, meanwhile, was going through his own preflight routine. Belted in, helmet on, and visor down, the pilot swung his microphone down from the side of his helmet and rested it against his lips. He checked with Pippy in dispatch to get the scene coordinates and the incident
Mark Pippy picked up the receiver and learned of a "rollover on Interstate 91, with entrapment, near the Windsor exit." He called Clark, who responded, "We're good to go," as he turned to head out to the helipad.
commander's radio frequency. Then he gave the "thumbs-up" to Johns, who responded in kind before ducking and heading back to the hangar—his flightsuit whipping in the slipstream from the rotors.
"When you're ready, gentlemen," Clark radioed to the crew. "Can I have the checklist, please?" Vota responded, reading down the take-off portion of the take-off and landing checklist—a laminated sheet posted on the frame of one of the doors in the crew compartment.