Army vet piloting for Troup County Air Evac

Published 8:22 pm Wednesday, July 18, 2018

For Troup County Air Evac pilot John Weyrauch, piloting the emergency service helicopter is not much different from when he flew them in the U.S. Army.

“I fly a small helicopter,” Weyrauch said. “Flying, you still have to abide by the same rules and everything.”

Originally from Tuscon, Arizona, Weyrauch joined the Army after graduating from high school. He retired as a Chief Warrant Officer Four after serving for 24 years.

“I love flying,” Weyrauch said. “When I was in aviation, I was a mechanic for 8-and-a-half years and then decided I liked flying, and I liked being up there and figured I’d actually want to do the flying instead of just being in the back.”

After retiring from the Army, Weyrauch said he enjoyed flying and wanted to do something that would give back to the community. He worked for Air Evac Lifeteam 86 in Americus for a year and a half, before starting with Troup County’s Lifeteam 77 on Wednesday. Weyrauch said he switched to Lifeteam 77 so he could be closer to his family in Montgomery, Alabama.

As a part of Air Evac, Weyrauch, a paramedic and flight nurse evacuate people to out-of-area hospitals.

After the paramedic and flight nurse determine what the patient needs for care and the best place they can get it, Weyrauch flies them to the determined hospital.

Weyrauch said one of the challenges of being an Air Evac pilot is determining where the weather is when they fly.

“I just enjoy the fact that we’re providing access to rural areas that don’t have to the level one trauma centers or level two trauma centers,” Weyrauch said. “I enjoy the people I get to meet, the people I get to work with, the opportunity to travel and see what these folks in the medical field do because as a pilot you don’t get to deal with the medical field. Doing the [emergency medical services], you get to see a lot of really neat things. Just some of the injuries that the medic and nurse get to take care of and how well they work as a team in the back (of the helicopter) is just awesome.”

Outside of piloting, Weyrauch said he enjoys golfing, working on cars and spending time with his wife, Crystal, and children Brittany, Gabrielle, Emma and Hunter.

“We’re excited to have him,” said Donald Cofer, program director of Lifeteam 77. “He knows our organization, what our mission is and his experience in the military is a big plus.”