REACH pilots train for new routes: 'We're entering our busy season'

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- For the REACH air medical pilots, the time it takes to get between two points can mean saving or losing a life.

That's why pilots spent Friday running new GPS routes and approaches that are aimed at giving the medical crews more time to save lives. Crew member Neal Wagner said that practice runs are making it easier for REACH Medical Helicopter pilots to navigate through some serious Oregon weather and make emergency landings.

"We're entering our busy season, but on an average our base does almost two flights a day," Wagner said. "Some days it can be as busy as three or four."

REACH pilots like Brian Bowen said new navigational equipment will help them take the most direct route, allowing them to go underneath some of the storm fronts and travel to and from a location safely.

"It shows our location and what were able to do is select approach or departure depending upon what phase of flight we're in," Bowen said.