CareFlite opens Denton base

CareFlite has landed safely in Denton, joining 65 other companies operating out of Denton Enterprise
Airport.
The nonprofit ground and air ambulance service officially opened its new operations base at the airport
Wednesday as local business leaders, city officials, pilots and emergency personnel looked on.
CareFlite president and CEO Jim Swartz said he is happy to be part of the community, saying Denton
always has been a large CareFlite market. He said about 20 jobs have been added because of the new
facility.
“We have big advantages being housed here,” Swartz said. “Our response — from time of call to when we
are in the air — is four minutes, as opposed to 10 minutes when we aren’t located directly to a helipad.”
Swartz said he has six helicopter bases and 24 ground ambulance bases. One helicopter has been housed
in an airport hangar and one ground ambulance has been stationed at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital
Denton since the beginning of October, he said.
There will be a helicopter and an ambulance stationed in Denton 24 hours a day, seven days a week to
ensure adequate response for emergency personnel, officials said.
“In our business, every second is crucial,” Swartz said. “If we have our Denton helicopter or ambulance out
on a call, we will just move one not in use from our next closest base, which would be Frisco.”
Wesley Pearce, a mechanic at CFDI Aero, said he was there to show his support for the latest business to
join the growing airport community.
“It really is a community here. Everyone knows everybody, and it’s always great to add new businesses to
the airport,” said Pearce, who has been working at the airport for 12 years.
The new CareFlite facility will be housed in a hangar owned by HTA Aviation, an aviation services company.
Officials said CareFlite will occupy 715 square feet of office space and 4,160 square feet of hangar space in
the company’s hangar at 4910 Lockheed Drive.
CareFlite operates with the support of Baylor Health Care, JPS Health Network, Methodist Health System,
Parkland Health & Hospital System and Texas Health Resources, as well as through individual and city
memberships.
Swartz said CareFlite is averaging about 50 air calls per month in Denton and that he encourages residents
to join.
A household membership costs $49 per year and will help cover the costs of someone in need of a
transport by ground or air as long as they let dispatch know they are a CareFlite member.
“With medical billing these days, joining would be advantageous,” he said.
Don Smith, who served on Denton’s airport board for about 35 years, said he is always pleased to see new
aviation-related businesses come to the airport.
“When I first started flying out of here, I had to go elsewhere just for maintenance,” said Smith, a retired
University of North Texas professor.
The airport had six businesses in 1985 and has grown to 65 and counting, according to Smith.
Many in attendance Wednesday agreed that Denton is an ideal location to house an emergency operations
base.

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