BC Air Ambulance Pilot – An interview with Ian Jones

We recently caught up with our friend Ian Jones, who gave us some insight on what led him to a career as a BC Air Ambulance Pilot and some of the things we might like to know about the job. Him and his team provide an incredible service that enhances our healthcare in Canada, and we thank them!

What company do you provide services for?

I provide services for Helijet International. It is a helicopter airline and charter service based in Vancouver, British Columbia that has been contracted to provide helicopter transport for the British Columbia Air Ambulance Service using air medical equipped helicopters.

What is your Title?

My title is Training Captain.

What type of aircraft do you fly?

Sikorsky 76A, 76C+ and 76C++

How long have you been a pilot?

I have been a pilot for 28 years.

You are originally from Wales, correct? How did you end up coming to Canada?

Yes, I'm from Wales and my wife is from Germany. After I retired from the Army, I had not really been back in the UK for anything but Pilot courses. We both liked Canada and so made plans to move. At the same time the Army wanted to keep me on, so I got posted to Canada as I emigrated.

What type of team do you have with you when you fly? 

The team consists of two Critical Care Paramedics, or two Infant Transfer Team (ITT) Paramedics, and sometimes a Physician or third Paramedic under training.

Does the team size depend on the emergency or is it a standard requirement?

The team size is pretty standard, maybe with or without an incubator if it is an Infant Transfer Team (ITT).

What is your designated travel zone? 

My designated travel zone is BC's Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, up to 3 hours of flight time.

Has that always been your travel zone?

In Canada yes, this has been my travel zone. I have also flown Africa and former USSR in the offshore oil role as Medivac and transfer.

What type of medical training are you required to have?

As a pilot, I do not require medical training. 

What question(s) do you get asked the most?

The question I get asked the most is: Are you a Paramedic?

What is something that has surprised you about the job that you wouldn't have thought?

Something that surprised me was the amount of phone calls required to fly each mission.

Perks or likes of the profession?

Great flying scenery. The profession is always a mix of fun and challenging moments. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become an air ambulance pilot?

The best advice I can give is to fly and accumulate good hours and experience on other types first, and log as much night and instrument time as possible 

Thanks Ian! It has been great getting to know a little bit more about the work that you do. We appreciate the service you and Helijet provide.

My pleasure, thank you. I love what I do. 

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