Safety is Everyones Business


PHI Air Medical Inc. manages ThedaStar’s pilots and mechanics and maintains the helicopter. From its humble beginning in the swamps of Louisiana in 1950, PHI Inc. has grown to be one of the largest and most experienced helicopter operators in the world.

One of the primary reasons for this success is an organizational commitment to safe operational practices, both in the air and on the ground. From the CEO on down, our culture is predicated on the unifying principle that safety is not only what we do, but who we are.

In an effort to promote these ideals to the rest of the world and bring us all together under a single banner, Destination Zero was born. Destination Zero focuses on the fact that zero accidents, injuries, and preventable occurrences ARE possible and that EVERYONE is empowered to stand up, speak out, and take action if they witness a potentially unsafe activity. It is our moral obligation and responsibility to do so if we expect to have the trust of those for whom we provide care.

So the next time you see that familiar red, white, and blue ThedaStar helicopter traversing the picturesque Wisconsin countryside, take a moment to reflect on the individuals who make the safe transportation of the sick and injured possible. Think of the fire/rescue and law enforcement personnel who are first on scene to assess patients and set up a landing zone for the aircraft. Consider the medical staff who coordinate transfers for critical patients under constantly changing and difficult circumstances and remember the security officers, dispatchers, and facility maintenance personnel that perform an indispensable service every day.

No one likes to think about the bad things that can, and do, happen.  Nor should one be fraught with worry about what might be, but do be thankful for all of those who take part in making sure when something unfortunate does happen, help will always be there.

Facts about PHI Air Medical:

  • First company of its size to equip all of its aircraft with night vision goggles
  • Increased Inadvertent Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IIMC) training through Line Oriented Flight Training (LOFT) 
  • Developed and introduced the Enhanced Operational Control Matrix, which has been adopted by the FAA as a best practice
  • “Four to Go – One to Say No” protocol to engage each professional to ensure safety standards on every flight
  • New emergency locator transmitters with upgraded military frequency were installed in all of its aircraft

By Chris Roden, ThedaStar Lead Pilot