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Southtowns hangar expected to lift Mercy Flight operation

Photo courtesy of Mercy Flight website

Mercy Flight is taking more precautions regarding the region's weather by establishing a new hangar in Springville.

The helicopter operation and Bertrand Chaffee Hospital are breaking ground Tuesday with plans to have the structure done some time in October. The $500,000 construction will take place next to the helipad already at the hospital, served by Mercy Flight for 35 years.

"All we need is enough space for one helicopter," said Founder and President Doug Baker.

"It'll be a typical aircraft hangar with a helipad out in front of it and the hospital is going to be supplying quarters for the crew. So, it will be a perfect scenario."

Baker says the move gives Mercy Flight some flexibility. If Buffalo is buried in bad weather, a helicopter can be moved to Springville and remain ready. He says it meets the needs of Chaffee Hospital, which doesn't have some of the medical staff it had years ago, and allows quick transportation to a larger hospital.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.