Flight for Life’s new model EC145 C2E helicopter arrived at the Burlington Municipal Airport in March. The new helicopter is stationed in Burlington to serve residents of Racine, Walworth and Kenosha Counties. The medical helicopter service eyes a long-term presence in Burlington as it proceeds with plans to build a permanent hangar and related equipment. (Photo by Chad Hensiak)

Medical transport helicopter service to build permanent hangar

By Jason Arndt

Staff Writer

Since last November, Flight for Life medical helicopter service has leased space at the Burlington Municipal Airport, with plans to construct a permanent hangar.

The plans, according to city officials, also include a holding tank, helicopter pad and well.

The Common Council, which previously approved all necessary leases, could consider one of the proposed plans at its Sept. 6 meeting with Flight for Life proposing installation of the well and holding tank.

City Administrator Carina Walters, at Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, said the proposal is part of Flight for Life’s mission to remain at the Burlington Municipal Airport.

“As FFL is in process of building their future, they will need a holding tank, helicopter pad, and well for 24-hour operation,” she wrote in a memorandum.

In 2021, according to a memorandum, the city modified an ordinance in the municipal code allowing Flight for Life to provide 24-hour service at the airport.

The Common Council, meanwhile, later endorsed an assignment of lease between the city, Grand Central Holding as well as a ground lease.

“The lease and ground lease allowed Flight for Life the ability to have a fuel tank on site in addition to a well to provide non-potable water for the trailer, hangar, and other areas of the premise,” Walters added.

As part of the agreement, if Flight for Life vacates the property, the agency needs to remove or cap the well at the discretion of the Common Council.

The lease at the time was only temporary until Flight for Life constructed a new hangar, which according to city documents, the Common Council had already discussed.

As for the new hangar, the Flight for Life construction carries a distinct difference compared to traditional leases, which must be brought forward following completion of the structure.

“However, in this case, the hangar plans are at the state for final approvals and Jim Hurst, the contractor, is looking to solicit the construction of the well and holding tanks as part of the overall construction,” Walters wrote.

Hurst, in a letter to city officials, said the hangar will have offices and sleeping quarters for Flight for Life crews who will occupy the space around the clock.

“Because it will be occupied every day, it will require bathrooms and showers for personnel and given the urgency of Flight for Life’s services, will also require a generator to maintain service if power is lost,” the letter states.

“To accommodate the above, we plan to install a 5,000 gallon concrete holding tank to be pumped by an outside service as needed and 6-inch well for water service.”

Both infrastructure elements would be located on the west side of the future hangar.

To read the entire story see the Aug. 18 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.