Tampa air ambulance business takes him around the world time and time again

Tampa air ambulance business takes him around the world time and time again

TAMPA — Two days after Christmas, Mike Honeycutt obtained a name on his option to his Westshore workplace: An American vacationer had a coronary heart assault in Jamaica and wanted to go house.

Honeycutt, CEO of air ambulance and medical evacuation firm Jet ICU and a pilot himself, flew in together with his paramedics to deliver the person again – in spite of everything, it is a fairly typical Tuesday.

Honeycutt, 53, is from a small city in North Carolina the place planes are dusting the crops and navy jets are flying overhead from the close by base. He is married to Becky, lives in Palm Harbor, turned a brand new grandfather, and sure, he is traveled the world a number of occasions. He prefers the pilot chair to the workplace chair.

The household enterprise, which he runs together with his father Invoice, consists of seven plane and 10 pilots and dozens of medical, transportation, communication and administrative workers. On the finish of the corridor within the workplace, his father runs the facet of the corporate that makes journey insurance coverage for missionaries.

Whenever you see many of the Seven Wonders, there are numerous tales—just like the time on the peak of the pandemic when an island nation was reluctant to permit a cruise ship passenger with COVID to land there to board a Jet ICU airplane. “We lastly needed to commerce in a ventilator,” Honeycutt informed the US to make it occur.

A dialog with Mike Honeycutt. This interview has been edited for size and readability.

How early did you notice you wished to fly?

It is my final 12 months in highschool. I used to be attempting to determine what to do. My father’s finest pal grew up as a area sweeper and pilot (who turned an airline). He informed me about his job, labored 15 days a month, traveled all around the world.

Then I went out and took my first flight and obtained hooked. I wished to see the world.

How did the Jet ICU enterprise evolve?

I did a cargo flight for some time. That led me to fly three NASCAR groups.

I began flying for a small air ambulance… They’d all of a sudden go all around the world. I actually favored it as a result of I am from a small city. I have been to 4, perhaps 5 continents in six months. You will notice some issues. However it’s under no circumstances a trip.

I noticed the Nice Wall of China from the air. That is fairly cool.

I used to be employed by Halfway, a small airline, and missed what I used to be doing. Lots of people favored the present, and for me, after getting a name, pack your luggage, you are going to Berlin, it was thrilling. I miss

(He took early depart after 911 and returned to the air ambulance firm. After the corporate closed, he determined to start out his personal firm in 2003.)

There’s something to be stated for being younger and bold. I’ve a pal in insurance coverage who says, “It isn’t unimaginable, it simply takes longer.”

Two days after Christmas you had been going to Jamaica and coming again. Is that this last-minute battle fairly typical?

That is what we focus on, wherever on the earth, what we name long-distance medical transport. Ninety p.c of our journeys are pressing like this. We do not have a lot planning. That is the character of the enterprise.

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Medication (group members) will inform me: Time is tissue.

Did the affected person in Jamaica succeed?

He did. They had been optimistic that he would get well.

What’s the bulk of the work – sick or injured passengers on cruise ships? conditions like Florida boy with rare brain-eating amoeba Did you fly to Chicago for upkeep? Vacationers in international international locations?

We do lots of enterprise with Canadians (who fly house to common healthcare). We do loads with cruise ships… any form of medical emergency. We do lots of work with Johns Hopkins (All Youngsters’s Hospital) concerning the transport of untimely infants. We do lots of children and all the things in between.

We discovered a 94 12 months previous gentleman on a visit exterior of Europe. Certainly one of my nurses requested him, “Do you assume you are going to cease touring now?” “What, I am gonna sit on my porch and wait to die?”

It was an eye-opening, life-changing factor for me. He’s proper.

Mike Honeycutt is in one of the Jet ICU planes.
Mike Honeycutt is in one of many Jet ICU planes.
[ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]

Do you observe up on sufferers after your function is over?

We do. We get lots of suggestions (playing cards, notes, and in a current case, a photograph of a kid recuperating in a hospital mattress after an incident whereas snorkeling together with his household in Turks and Caicos) from sufferers and fellow vacationers.

(After Honecutt’s father heard Twin babies born prematurely in Utah Petersburg, Jet ICU flew them.) My father attended two birthday events (since then). We stayed shut with them.

It is a very worthwhile enterprise.

Instances by which Jet ICU transplant was supplied freed from cost had been famous within the information – for instance, an individual’s household University of South Florida student injured in a car accident while visiting Cuba He could not afford to fly her house in 2015. (Extra not too long ago, the corporate has The 12-year-old girl, the only survivor when her family was head-on in the wreckage Whereas on trip in Mexico in June.)

You recognize, we’re blessed. Once we really feel we must always leap, we leap. Tampa is now my small city. You assist your neighbors.

Speak about a case that sticks with you.

There’s an excessive amount of.

There was a lady I flew with in ’98. She was 18, terminally in poor health. He had bone marrow most cancers. They introduced him from Oslo for a brand new remedy they had been attempting. It did not work for him, so we had been taking him house. (On that flight they needed to steer him, disembark him, and get him by customs.) He was in a lot ache.

So we took him out. “I am so sorry we needed to cease,” I stated. “No – thanks,” he stated. You are taking me house so I can die with my household.”

What number of miles do you assume you’ve got logged?

I flew east around the globe thrice. West twice. From a pilot’s perspective, not many individuals do this. I used to be blessed.

I imply, extra miles than I can bear in mind.

It is an awesome day when you’ll be able to see the dawn and sundown at 41,000 toes on the identical day.

Is it nonetheless enjoyable to fly?

It. They are saying that should you do a job you like, you by no means work a day in your life.

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