AHEC - North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program

About NC AHEC » Medical Air Operations

About NC AHEC

UNC Air Operations

Medical Air

Physical address: 1050 Meridian Drive, Morrisville, NC 27560
(see directions below)

Mailing address: UNC 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 Air Operations, previously known as Medical Air, has transported health science faculty, medical residents, and university officials to all areas of the state for educational activities. UNC 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, UNC 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. UNC Air has logged approximately 20 million passenger miles since 1978.

Typical Day

UNC 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 UNC 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

UNC 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 UNC Air passengers.

Gordon Kramon, UNC Air's Director of Operations, is proud of his crew and its outstanding safety record. During the more than 40 years of UNC Air's flights, there have been no major incidents on the ground or in the air.

UNC 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," UNC Air helps maintain a close partnership between the universities and the communities around the state. The UNC Air staff takes pride in its contributions toward improving health care access for all North Carolinians.

UNC Air Operations PASSENGER ELIGIBILITY Policy

As described in the UNC Air Operations Policy Manual, UNC Air Operations falls administratively within the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (NC AHEC) Program. UNC 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 UNC 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:

  1. traveling on university business
  2. traveling on AHEC business, such as teaching a class or conducting a clinic
  3. traveling on state agency business
  4. 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.

UNC 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

Art Johnson, Pilot

Carolyn Mann, Assistant Air Transportation Coordinator

Pratyush Mehta, Financial Manager

Lotta Nelms, Air Transportation Coordinator

 

Getting there

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 Air Operations in a larger map.