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UT Health East Texas Air 1 pilot avoids collision with drone

UT Health East Texas Air 1, with a 33-year-old history of safe flights, avoided a collision with a drone this week after dropping off a patient at a Dallas hospital.

“We had received information from the Love Field tower about other aircraft in the area and ten seconds later a drone appears in our flight path and I had to bank to the right to avoid a collision,” said UT Health East Texas Air 1 pilot Clint Burleson. Flight medic Charles Cooper and flight nurse Celie Pyle were also on board. Burleson has been flying helicopters for over 15 years including in the military.

“The skills of our crew in preventing an accident were amazing,” said chief flight nurse Michael Lawyer. “They had seconds to react in what could have resulted in a crash. Our personnel train for all types of scenarios and we are proud that UT Health East Texas Air 1 has a safe flying record.”

UT Health East Texas Air 1’s fleet of four helicopters conducts over 1200 flights a year and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Air Medical Transport Services. Aircraft are inspected daily. The high-tech helicopters are equipped with terrain avoidance, night vision goggles and color weather radar. UT Health East Texas Air 1 partners with Metro Aviation.

The Dallas Police Department and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the incident.