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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bear Force One: Adorably Named Helicopter Joins UCSF Medical Center

Posted By on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 2:41 PM

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Say what you will about the other ventures of tech titans-turned-philanthropists Marc Benioff and Ron Conway, but the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Mission Bay will be an undeniable beacon of hope in some people's lives. So, once we've dispensed with the politics, here's a new added bonus: Bay Area moms and newborns will soon be watched over by the hospital's adorably named "Bear Force One."

The chopper will take off from a base in Oakland and deliver patients to a helipad on the roof of the new UCSF Ron Conway Family Gateway Medical Building. The folks from the hospital believe it will carry one or two patients per day on average. To assuage any fear that the neighborhood will be bombarded by the constant whirring of propellor blades, the hospital expects more than 80 percent of Bear Force One's flights to happen between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., although plans often change fast when it comes to delivering babies. The usual flight plan means the BF1 will take off to the east, over the Bay rather than the neighborhoods to the East, weather permitting.

The helipad is the first medical helipad the city has had in decades. SFPD stopped using helicopters after two officers were killed in a crash in the late '90s and that helicopter crew from the short-lived NBC medical drama Trauma, in case you were wondering, were based out of a fictitious Angel Rescue Services on Treasure Island. Like Benioff and Conway, the production crews from that show also left their mark on the city — the warehouse that once served as a soundstage for the show is still emblazoned with the fake Angel Rescue logo.

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Andrew M. Dalton

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