I've only noticed it when they are acting as MEDEVAC, transporting patients to the hospital. I haven't noticed it, for example, if they're getting back to base or monitoring a situation.I noticed that you said, "when they're transporting ." What to you mean "transporting?" If they are just flying, perhaps monitoring a large fire, they are not counting flight time? I'm not fro your area and just curious.
I have a novel approach. Why don't you call them and ask? Apparently, no one here is really sure.I've noticed with LACoFD and possibly LASD aero units when they're transporting they'll ask the dispatcher to start the timer, who then report the total time once they land. Why is that?
I always thought they were tracking the mileage to ensure the ambulance isn't taking a longer route to do something unsavory to the patient. I seem to recall something happening in SoCal years back revolving around that? Maybe it was a PD or CHP officer - My memory is not what it used to beBilling. Just as the ground ambulances (around here anyway) report their beginning and ending milage
And those operating times are not determined by what the crew broadcasts on the radio.When it comes to aircraft maintenance, all of their Preventative Maintenance Actions are driven by flight time and/or (engine) operating time. (IE, 25HR Water Entrapment Inspection, 25HR Wing Pivot Bearing Inspection) Some of their maintenance is calendar; IE, 30-Day Landing Gear Lube, 30-Day Aircraft Wash. When I was working on the F-111s, we had an engine inspection that was flight hour based, which we lined up with same interval airframe inspections.
Military pilots call their OPS Centers when they're "wheels up," and when they are "on the deck"/landed.
They can elect to get radar flight following from ATC as well on their VHF AM aircraft radio if they wish, but it's not very common practice with public safety helicopters because they often fly too low for ATC's radar and radio coverage. Most public safety dispatch centers in charge of aircraft resources conduct their own internal "flight following" for this reason, but it's non-radar and based on simple position reports and ETEs to next destination. Because they are giving specific starting and ending times I'd say this is not for a flight following reason because the flight follower only cares about approximate ETE and whether the aircraft made it safely to their destination (if they don't hear from them and can't establish radio contact after their stated ETE, search and rescue would be initiated along the planned route).Aren't they still squawking? Something's gotta be tracking them.