yhmfan
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What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 1:39 pm

I was reading the CVR transcript for TWA 800 and I noticed a reference to the flight being "life guard". I seem to remember reading somewhere that it means the AC had a patient on board but I am not sure. In any case, what is the difference for the ATC?


Here is the relevant part of the transcript:


2007: 50 CAM-1 you need to get taxi clearance.
2007: 52 RDO-2 Kennedy gate hold TWA's eight hundred heavy we're lifeguard ah we're ready to taxi out delta alpha with tango.
2008: 01 GH TWA eight hundred all right contact ground one two one point niner for the taxi inform them that you are lifeguard.
2008: 04 CAM-3 after start checklist complete.
2008: 07 RDO-2 roger.
2008: 13 RDO-2 Kennedy ground TWA's eight hundred heavy lifeguard comin' out delta alpha with tango.
2008: 19 GND ah TWA eight hundred heavy ah you're a life guard today?
2008: 24 RDO-2 yes sir.
2008: 25 GND you know every day you come out and we don't know that you're a lifeguard and then you tell us you are and ah if you could tell company to ah you know ah put that in their flight plan ah it would help us out alot.
2008: 38 RDO-2 TWA's eight hundred understand I don't think they knew it either until the last minute.
2008: 41 GND all right TWA eight hundred taxi right on alpha and hold short of echo.
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FedExDC-10
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 1:41 pm

Lifeguard means that the aircraft is carrying critical medical cargo, such as organs.

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coa764
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 1:45 pm

A "lifeguard" call-sign is given to a flight that is transporting vital organs for immediate transplant.
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L-188
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 1:46 pm

Really close.

Lifeguard is a callsign used by any medivac aircraft on a mission. That can include flying organs on a commercial flight like Fed-ExDc-10 said, or dedicated Air Ambulance aircraft flying accident site to Hospital, or doing Hospital to Hospital flights.

The callsign can be used by the aircraft going outboud to pick up and when the paitent is onboard. A flight that is returning empty will not use the callsign.
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airxliban
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 1:47 pm

is this the TWA 800?
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JumboBumbo
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 1:47 pm

Thanks kind of sad to know there could have been an "ancillary" casualty to TWA 800 if someone's organ didn't arrive.
 
coa764
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 1:50 pm

The call sign, in ref to commercial aircraft, is meant to be used ONLY with organs needed for immediate transplant at the down-line station.
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FedExDC-10
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 1:51 pm

Well when I said critical medical cargo, I meant for that to include patients as well LOL (Cargo, yeah I know, sounds bad). Although I've never heard medivac flights use "Lifeguard" on frequency, interesting. The airport I fly out of has some based there and I've never heard them use that, even one time when a medivac helo flew into the airport to pick someone up. Perhaps it's just understood that you just get the hell outta their way.

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prosa
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 1:53 pm

IIRC, Flight 800 was carrying corneas for transplant.
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L-188
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 1:58 pm

I work in the dispatch office for a 135 carrier that provides aircraft services to one of the medivac providers.

So I end up filing "lifeguard" quite a bit
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coa764
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 2:03 pm

The ironic thing is eyes are not considered criteria for commercial "lifeguard" they are not a life threatening transplant and can wait. Commercial lifeguard flights get a very high priority. Basically the controllers will move, spin, reroute, slowdown, speed up, and hold all other flights to a lifeguard destination to expedite the flights landing. That is why issuing the designation is a big deal and you do not hear it to much. There really has to be real need for the controller to give such a high priority to a fight without declaring an emergency.
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coa764
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 2:16 pm

L-188 no disrespect but the "Lifeguard" call sign is meant to be used only in the event of transporting organs for immediate life dependent transplant. If you are transporting a liver for transplant a few days later you technically should not re-designate you call sign. Local controllers have to treat a Lifeguard flight with a very high priority and can end up spinning traffic to move your flight up. This not only creates a safety issue but an equability issue for those that are holding. 121 ops have to designate via the ATCSCC web through the TCA and they do ask.. Just an FYI..
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L-188
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 2:29 pm

Go loves 135 operators  Laugh out loud

The only time we use the lifeguard call, is for medivac calls, which up here for our operation is pretty much strictly emergency patient transports.

I get the feeling that we might be arguing the same point here Big grin
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F9Fan
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 2:36 pm

Can a "lifeguard" designation be given to a flight in mid-air if a medical emergency develops on board, such as a passenger breaks a bone when a plane encounters some mid-air turbulence? Or would they declare an emergency in that case?

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L-188
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 2:37 pm

Nope, that is something different.

By using the Lifeguard designation when you file the flightplane you tip off the FAA that you are on the way so your controlers have a chance to plan ahead and avoid spinning traffic.
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yhmfan
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 2:42 pm

Thanks everyone for your answers. This is what I love about this forum. Lots of knowledgeable participants.

If PROSA is right and TWA 800 was carrying only corneas, does this mean that it was using the lifeguard call improperly?

I don't remember reading anything about it on the NTSB investigation. One would expect a reference because the time the aircraft spent on the ground before take off was an issue vis-a-vis the heating of the fuel tanks by the airconditioning units. (in other words, a lifeguard flight would not have spent much time waiting for take off)
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coa764
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 2:42 pm

No, that is declared as a Medical Emergency ..

L-188.. Didn't realize there was any 135 left.. I thought it was either 91 or 121 now.. Are you Helicopter ops (I know now nothing about that)?
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aviaar
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 2:44 pm

Do life-guards get special departure priorities?
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L-188
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 2:49 pm

Nope, fixed wing.

135 is alive and well up in Alaska.

Just can't fly anything sched. with over 9 seats. We don't. So strictly charter work.
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coa764
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 2:59 pm

Aviaar---Well yes but they get special handling by ATC your companies departure procedures are still controlling

L-188---Alaska.. COOL, I have never been but want to go! The farthest north I have been out there in the rugged country is Glacier National Park in NW Montana...
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jhooper
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 3:23 pm

Here's today's "Fastest Finger" question! Put these flights in the correct order of ATC priority.......

a) a "Lifeguard" flight
b) a "Rescue" flight
c) Air Force One
d) An aircraft in distress?
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flyingdoctorwu
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 3:24 pm

I didnt realize that organs really flew commercially...
the institution i'm at flies its organs privately.. basically we send the transplant team out in either a kingair 200 or a citation V. they harvest the organs and fly them back... our aircraft are supplied through a medcenter air. I guess, though, that those flights probably would fly under the lifeguard callsign.

chris
PS- livers are usually time critical, cold time between 12-18 hrs... so if they are flying, they would best be under the lifeguard call sign..
 
L-188
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 3:32 pm

I'll throw you one better FlyingDoctorWu<

10 years ago we where doing emergency medivac flights on schedualed airliners.

If out plane was in town ready to depart, we often would go ahead and bord them on our airplane.

Much quicker then waiting the 2 hour minimum for a dedicated lifeguard flight just to arrive where we where.

Push down three rows of seats, put the stokes basket in the middle one, and then strap it down to the floor tracks.

The FAA in recent years has decided that it doesn't like this practice, since a stokes basket isn't an approved seat. Hell we can't even use them at the 135 operation, in dedicated medivac aircraft. So I don't think it gets used much like that anymore.

BTW, our choice for seat rows to knock over for a paitent where from the back door on a 727, the 2nd 3rd and 4th. Couldn't use 1st row because it was considered an exit row.

[Edited 2004-02-29 07:34:16]
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coa764
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 3:34 pm

1-AF1
2-aircraft emergency
3-Lifeguard
4-Rescue (never hear this designation)


FLYDOCWU--they don't come that often so I imagine one they get to commercial all other avenues have been exhausted, My guess they use them then and also in long haul non-stops (ex.. EWR-LAX)......
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flyingdoctorwu
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 3:59 pm

I dont know much about medivac flights.. though where I might be moving to has an agreement with one of those travel insurance to provide medical evacs- you get to accompany the patient back to their home.

COA764 as for long haul transplants I doubt that that ever happens just because of the way organs are distributed; ie regionally. I think the farthest we go is Nashville TN...

Chris
 
coa764
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 4:04 pm

You are probably right... I have not seen a lifeguard for a long time now..
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Guest

RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 4:05 pm

I spent three years as a Life Flight pilot flying MU-2s, Conquests, Cheyennes, and Citations. I assure you that we were "Lifeguard" whether we were carrying patients or organs. We were "Lifeguard" when we were rushing outbound to the outlying airport to pickup the patient and we were "Lifeguard" when we had the patient on board for the return flight.

We were even "Lifeguard" a few times when we didn't need or want to be "Lifeguard". The controllers got so used to our call signs being associated with Lifeguard that there were times when we were doing training flights and ATC initiated the Lifeguard call for us. Each time we told them that we were negative Lifeguard today and they replied "roger, Lifeguard..." After a few times of telling them that we weren't Lifeguard we just gave up and took the priority.

Lifeguard flights get special handling and priority on departures, routes, and arrivals. You basically tell them what you want and if there's any way possible, ATC will give it to you. It's like running around in an ambulance with the lights and siren. ATC is very accommodating.

I had the opportunity to take a controller along with us on a "Fam(iliarization) Ride". Some controllers had been questioning our need for priority handling and we offered them a chance to ride along on a "typical" mission. The trip that I flew this guy on was wild. The patient "crashed" mid-flight and the medical team had blood and stuff all over the cabin. They were hitting him with the paddles. It was really intense. We ended up making a "balls to the wall" straight-in approach against the traffic at SLC during the evening rush. ATC had aircraft backed up from SLC to Mormon Mesa until we were down and clear. Needless to say, that poor controller saw first hand what can happen during a Lifeguard transport. I guess that he put the word out, from that time on we always got what we wanted from SLC ARTCC and like I said in the beginning - we got it even when we didn't want it.

Jetguy
 
L-188
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 4:06 pm

Well if you have a liver that was quoted earlier with a 12-18 hour "cold time" putting it on a 15 hour flight to Tokyo isn't going to do anybody any good.
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coa764
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 4:16 pm

Jet guy, sounds like you were doing Life-Flights (get the term from the news).. I was just letting on that commercial flights had restrictions to when and when not to change their call-sign. As you sited, the 'Lifeguard' call-sign is a show stopping squawk. Delaying other folks and having them needlessly spin to get in quick without a need is not the kind of behavior the users should be displaying to ATC and their customers.
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L-188
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 6:12 pm

Yup.

Sometimes you have to learn under fire Jetguy.

The one time I hoped a ride on a lifeguard flight, the guy was amblatory, so not a big deal.

But...

I also have heard stories of flight medics doing chest compressions though approach, landing and rollout.

The "Fasten Seatbelt" sign was pretty much ignored.
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N1641
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RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 7:52 pm

its...

1 An aircraft in distress?
2. Lifeguard" flight
3. a "Rescue" flight
4. Air Force One

we get lifeguard careflight1 in our airspace all the time, Im assuming theyre not transporting organs every other day, they usually say they are enroute to an accident scene or some hospital
 
Guest

RE: What Does "life Guard" Mean?

Sun Feb 29, 2004 11:53 pm

L-188...
You're correct about that! I've had open heart massage going on during the approach and landing by one of the trauma nurses and the other one "politely" telling me to "Hurry and get this airplane one the ground!" Funny thing though, we never had a patient die in flight , they all had the common courtesy to wait until we landed - paperwork issues, you know.

Jetguy

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