Anette remembers an ambulance flight early in her career. "It was up in northern Norway during a winter storm. It was the middle of the night, and the wind was extremely strong."
"That was my first real experience with bad weather, but after I got through it, I knew how much I could depend on the King Air and the PT6A. It was a good experience, because it gave me more faith in the machine," Anette recalls.
It's always been my dream to fly air ambulance missions. For me, it's more rewarding than just flying passengers from A to B. Norway is a lot like Alaska - because of the long distances and the mountains, driving to a hospital can take up to 10 hours. Remote communities are dependent on air ambulance aircraft and really appreciate the service they provide.
- ANETTE VREIM, FIRST OFFICER, LUFTTRANSPORT
Cold Weather Maintenance
Maintaining the engine in cold weather means pilots need to be fully aware of potential weather-related issues that could affect performance. Ensuring a minimum temperature when starting the engine, keeping snow and ice out of the engine to ensure the fan doesn't lock up and protecting the inlet and exhaust are all part of essential prevention.
Anette is now gearing up for a job flying air ambulance missions out of Alta up near the Arctic Circle for Lufttransport. "That means I'll be doing more flying in extreme conditions. Winter is harsh. There's more ice and strong winds; it will be challenging but exciting."
"I'll be working 12 hours on, 12 hours off, for seven days in a row," she said. "At the start of each shift, the captain, co-captain and medic have a 45-minute briefing to go over the flights for that day and make a game plan."
To ensure takeoff in an emergency, both pilot and aircraft need to be ready at a moment's notice, she maintains.
"Whenever possible, keep the airplane in a hangar. If you're outside, use propeller straps and engine covers to protect it from the environment, especially near the coast because of the salt in the air," she said.
"When you start flying, you need to think about the temperature and how it will affect the engine in such extremes. You can't operate the PT6A if the oil temperature is lower than -40 degrees Celsius for startup and the minimum temperature for fuel is -54 degrees Celsius."