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Pilot shortage results in Med-Flight service hour cuts

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) Virginia State Police has temporarily reduced the operating hours because of its Med-Flight helicopter service in central and southwest Virginia because of shortage of pilots.

State police said until more pilots could be hired and trained, the service has been reduced from 24-hour coverage to 16 hours each day, from 8 a.m. through midnight, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. The changes went into influence on Sunday.

For the time being, private, for-hire air ambulance services such as for example those provided by VCU Health Systems and HCA Hospitals will fill the gap in the Richmond area. Med-Flight is cost-free, however the private services bill patients for the transport. Generally, the fee is included in a patients medical care insurance.

Traditionally, sworn state cops have piloted Med-Flight helicopters, but civilian pilots have already been employed in days gone by and the shortage has opened hiring to civilians.

Hawaii has posted job listings seeking pilots for the Med-Flight programs located in Chesterfield County and Abingdon.

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