Dust, Wind Cause Problems for Those Flying Around Lubbock

The dust and winds over the last few days have created problems for some people who have flying as a part of their job description.
By Monica Yantosh
myantosh@klbk13.tv

LUBBOCK, TX -- The dust and winds over the last few days have created problems for some people who have flying as a part of their job description.

AeroCare had a hard time in the last few days. At least six times, their base manager decided the conditions were not safe enough for them to fly to respond to a call.

That's a tough decision to make, according to AeroCare pilot and base manager Patrick Gerdemann.

"The outcomes may not be as good, and you know, on Sunday, we had a neonatal request to Hereford, and we couldn't do it, and that's for a baby and stuff and I hate, and we hate not being able to do that but it's not safe," he said.

"It doesn't do us any good to take off, go to Clovis, and then I can't get a patient and bring them back here," he said.

Gerdemann said they need three feet of visibility in order to take off and land, and in the last few days because of the wind and dust, that has not always been the case.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the visibility did clear up to a point where they could take off from Lubbock again. Gerdemann said there would still be some places they may not be able to land, because visibility in those places would be too low. Sometimes, their airplane will be used as a back up, though that requires landing at an airport, and having an ambulance meet the airplane to transfer a patient.

"The sky turned from orange to almost completely dense, almost dark, where we couldn't even see the ground anymore," Greg Abbott said in a phone interview Tuesday. He was in Abilene after his plane was unable to land in Lubbock.

Abbott had to cancel an event in Lubbock Tuesday.

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