Data on in-flight medical emergencies on private aircraft is scarce, but during a recent visit to a major FBO, two pilots of large-cabin business jets told me that many of the ones that do occur are kept off the radar. (In commercial aviation, there is no federal regulation requiring airlines to report medical incidents or notify a central register.) Demographics alone would suggest the number of such emergencies is likely to increase as the general population ages. Not a pleasant thought on any flight— much less an intercontinental trip or ocean crossing.
Short of having a physician on board, NetJets has probably come as close as anyone could in anticipating such an event. The fractional-shares provider, which operates a sizeable fleet of super midsize and ultra-long-range business jets, partnered with Remote Diagnostic Technologies Ltd. (RDT) to include the Tempus IC telemedicine device as standard equipment on NetJets’ Signature Series aircraft in the U.S. and Europe. That includes Bombardier Global 5000, 6000 and Challenger 350 and 605 models.