Ask Benny: PennSTAR's helicopters rack up miles

Dear Benny,
How many times a day does the PennSTAR helicopter fly out and how many miles a week does it cover on average?
—Chopper Chaser

Dear ’Copter Fan,
Kevin Thomas, PennSTAR Flight Operations coordinator, tells me that in the last fiscal year, the PennSTAR choppers—there are three of them—flew a total of 95,170 miles, transporting 1,743 patients. That works out to a little over 1,253 miles flown and about 34 patients transported each week on average, making PennSTAR one of the East Coast’s busiest emergency medical transport services. Of the 1,743 patients who rode on PennSTAR flights, the overwhelming majority—1,036—were taken to HUP, but PennSTAR also made dropoffs at other hospitals including Presbyterian Medical Center and Pennsylvania Hospital.

One of the helicopters is based at Wings Field in Montgomery County, one is based at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown and a third, formerly at HUP, is located at Brandywine Airport in Chester County. Thomas explained that the HUP helicopter was moved to Brandywine to put it closer to the places where helicopter transport is needed.

Dear Benny,
Now that the renovation of the Quadrangle has been completed, are there any plans to repave Hamilton Walk, which runs parallel to the Quad on its south side?
—Treading Cautiously in John Morgan

Dear Careful Walker,
Yes, there are plans, according to University Architect Charlie Newman. But the major reconstruction of Hamilton Walk will have to wait until work on the Life Sciences Building behind Leidy Labs is complete a few years hence. In the interim, minor repairs will be made to the existing path to keep it in good condition.

Originally published on October 31, 2002