UNC Medical Air Operations
Physical address: 1050 Meridian Drive, Morrisville, NC 27560
(see directions below)
Mailing address: UNC Medical Air Operations, CB 1515, UNC-Chapel Hill,
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-1515
phone 919-840-1980 | fax 919-840-1984
hangar 919-840-1986| email click here
The nine regional Area Health Education Centers span North Carolina, allowing resources from the state's health science schools to reach communities and improve local health. The 500 miles between our coast and mountains present a challenge to university faculty who conduct consultation clinics and continuing education activities in the AHECs, while maintaining their teaching, research, and service responsibilities "at home."
Since its early beginnings in 1968, AHECs UNC Medical Air Operations, or Medical Air, has transported health science faculty, medical residents, and university officials to all areas of the state for educational activities. Medical Air and its fleet of six aircraft is based at RDU General Aviation and is flown by five full-time professional pilots.
In 2012-2013, Medical Air transported 1,962 passengers to more than 98 destinations. These include North Carolina's nine AHEC centers, community hospitals, health departments, and universities. This service makes it possible for faculty to reach very remote sites in the state on a daily basis while maintaining a full slate of professional activities. Medical Air has logged approximately 20 million passenger miles since 1978.
Medical Air flies between five and seven flights per day, averaging one to three passengers per flight. About 80% of its flights are scheduled during the daytime, transporting faculty, students, and residents to clinics around the state. Night flights are usually scheduled for faculty to conduct continuing education classes.
On a typical day Medical Air pilots may fly medical faculty and residents to Wilmington, NC to see patients at a consultation clinic. A professor in the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry faculty may conduct an evening continuing education program in Asheville after a full day of teaching students and treating patients in the dental clinic.
High Technical Standards
Medical Air's standards for pilots and equipment maintenance exceed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements. Pilots possess Airline Transport Pilot Certificates and have flown an average of 10,000 hours in both civilian and military aviation. A team of three full-time certified mechanics maintain the aircraft's readiness, performing eight inspections per aircraft per year and other routine maintenance procedures in a modern, fully equipped hangar. In addition, two experienced air transportation coordinators schedule flights for Medical Air passengers.
Gordon Kramon, Medical Air's Director of Operations, is proud of his crew and its outstanding safety record. During the more than 40 years of Medical Air's flights, there have been no major incidents on the ground or in the air.
Medical Air operates in a highly sophisticated air traffic control system. Its fleet of four Beechcraft Barons and two TBMs (see photo above) utilize state-of-the-art weather avoidance equipment and satellite navigational systems, comparable to those found on any major airliner. With these aircraft, most locations in the state can be reached in an hour or less, including small municipal airports inaccessible to commercial airliners.
As the "wings of AHEC," Medical Air helps maintain a close partnership between the universities and the communities around the state. The Medical Air staff takes pride in its contributions toward improving health care access for all North Carolinians.
Medical Air Operations PASSENGER ELIGIBILITY Policy
As described in the UNC Medical Air Operations Policy Manual, UNC Medical Air Operations falls administratively within the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (NC AHEC) Program. UNC Medical Air Operations provides the option of air transportation to university faculty, staff and administrators in their efforts to accomplish the goals of the AHEC Program or other missions of the broader University. Faculty are from the University of North Carolina system, as well as the major partner educational institutions that are part of the NC AHEC Program, including Duke University and Wake Forest University.
The Passenger Eligibility section of the operations manual states that passengers who utilize Medical Air will undergo prior screening for eligibility by the Air Transportation Coordinator, usually by telephone. It must be determined in advance that a passenger is one of the following:
- traveling on university business
- traveling on AHEC business, such as teaching a class or conducting a clinic
- traveling on state agency business
- traveling to meet the mission of AHEC, UNC System and other AHEC partner universities, or state agency.
Payment for flights must be made from an AHEC Center, state, or university account.
Medical Air Operations Staff
Gordon Kramon, Director, Pilot
Brad Allison, Pilot
Brian Call, Pilot
Paul Cotrufo, Aircraft Mechanic
David Eastwood, Aircraft Mechanic Supervisor
Jeremy Greene, Aircraft Mechanic
Jim Hotelling, Pilot
Art Johnson, Pilot
Carolyn Mann, Assistant Air Transportation Coordinator
Pratyush Mehta, Financial Manager
Lotta Nelms, Air Transportation Coordinator
Direct access from Chapel Hill via I-40 to I-540 to Lumley Road to RDU General Aviation. Follow signs to UNC Air Operations. Medical Air is located across from the RDU Observation Deck; separate from commercial terminals. Free parking in front of building. Your pilot will meet you in reception area and accompany you to the plane.
View UNC Medical Air Operations in a larger map.