LifeFlight helicopter

Meet Our Team


Cory Vaudt, DO

LifeFlight Medical Director

Dr. Vaudt has been involved with the air medical and EMS field for 7 years. He attended the University of Northern Iowa and Des Moines University for medical school. He then went on to Doctor's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio to complete an emergency medicine residency program. Dr. Vaudt is an attending emergency physician at Iowa Methodist, Methodist West and Iowa Lutheran Hospitals. He is instrumental in the flight crew's ongoing training, including all skills verification as well as instructing at Des Moines University's Physician Assistant Program and IPA's yearly conferences.

Dr. Vaudt spends his leisure time with family, traveling and doing photography.

Michael Zweigart, RN, CFRN, CMTE, Paramedic

Flight Nurse & LifeFlight Program Manager

Years in EMS: 18
Years of flight experience: 10

Michael has his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Iowa. He spent 7 years at Cedar Rapids Area Ambulance Service, then moved to a nursing career at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics with a focus on surgical ICU and emergency. Michael is an instructor for LifeFlight's ground crew safety class and serves on just about every committee the department has to offer.

His personal interests revolve around spending quality time with his daughters and traveling.

Jim Miara, MBA, BSBA, Paramedic

Director, Emergency Transport Services

Jim has been involved in the EMS field for 30 years and has been a paramedic since 1985. He received a degree in Health Service Management from Robert Morris University and his MBA from Penn State University.

Along with LifeFlight, Jim is also responsible for the UnityPoint Health - Des Moines Ground Transport Services, the One Call Transfer Center and the EMS Communications Center.

Jim enjoys his leisure time spending time with his wife and two children. 

Tammy Apana, RN, BS, EMT-P

Flight Nurse

Years in EMS: 2
Years in flight experience: 1

Tammy attended the Mercy School of Nursing, the University of St. Francis and Creighton University. She worked for three years with the Norwalk Fire Department, four years at Broodlawns ED and 16 years at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in oncology and ED. Tammy instructs the TNCC class for LifeFlight and is a member of the education and outreach committee.

Jill Austin, RN, BSN, CEN

Flight Nurse

Years in nursing: 14
Years of flight experience: 9

Jill attended the University of Northern Iowa and Allen College of Nursing for her BSN degree. She worked at St. Luke's Emergency Department and Lifeguard Air Ambulance in Cedar Rapids prior to joining the LifeFlight Des Moines team in 2009. Jill is an active member of the conference committee for LifeFlight. Her personal interest centers around time with her family, especially her three beautiful daughters.

Tina Baysinger, RN, EMT-PS, CEN, CFRN

Flight Nurse 

Years in nursing: 19
Years in EMS: 17
Years of flight experience: 4

Tina has her Associate Degree in Nursing and her Paramedic Specialist. Her work experience started in the Monroe Co. Hospital Emergency Department as a nurse and medic with their ambulance service. She has worked for Nurse Finders, Iowa Methodist ED, and Pleasant Hill Fire Department prior to joining the flight team in May of 2011. Tina is a Hazmat Ops instructor and is involved on the Trauma Services falls prevention committee, LifeFlight calendar and conference committees and is a LifeFlight preceptor.

During her spare time, Tina enjoys working out, spending time with family, the outdoors, volunteering with children and events with the Pleasant Hill Fire Department.

Jim Cooper

LifeFlight Pilot

Helicopter: Instrument, Commercial, Flight Instructor, Flight Instructor Instrument

Years flying: 12
Years in EMS: 7

Jim attended Flight School at Quantum Helicopters. His previous professional experience includes: 
- Quantum Helicopters
- Papillon Helicopter Tours
- Maverick Helicopter Tours
- Mercy Air Ambulance Sioux City
- Rated Helicopters: Robinson R22, R44, Bell 206L, EC-130, EC 135, EC -145, AS 350 B2

Brian Dotts, RN, CFRN, BS

Flight Nurse

Years in nursing: 20
Years of flight experience: 12

Brian has his Associate's Degree in nursing from DMACC and two Bachelor of Science degrees from Iowa State University. He has extensive experience in ICU, endoscopy and flight nursing and teaches a wide range of topics to the pre-hospital community. He participates on the Safety Committee for LifeFlight and is active in outreach efforts and a LifeFlight preceptor.

Brian is an avid hunter/outdoorsman and stays very active in his local church. He also enjoys automotive repairs and restoration.

Katy Hill, RN, BSN, CEN, CFRN, EMT-B

Flight Nurse & EMS Coordinator

Years of nursing: 28
Years of flight experience: 17

Katy earned her Bachelors of Science in nursing degree from the University of Iowa and went to Creighton University for further education to become an EMT-B. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings including the adult and pediatric emergency departments, neonatal intensive care unit and LifeFlight. She also taught nursing and managed obstetrics programs in the home healthcare area. Katy now serves as the EMS coordinator for UnityPoint Health - Des Moines. She teaches numerous topics to the EMS community including: stroke education, PALS, shock, start triage, blast injuries and child and dependent adult abuse. The committees that Katy works on are: calendar, outreach, website and the Fly-Along program at LifeFlight. She is a board member for IEMSA and an active participant in the CIEMSD organization.

Katy enjoys traveling and outdoor activities such as gardening, sports and sightseeing. She also loves attending her son's sporting events and activities.

Jerrica Moon, RN, CEN

Flight Nurse

Years in Nursing: 10
Years of Flight Experience: 1

Jerrica graduated from the Mercy College of Health Sciences in 2005. She then worked at Grinnell Regional Medical Center on the med/surg floor for two years and then ED for six years. She then transitioned to Iowa Methodist Medical Center where she has worked in the ED for two years before starting with LifeFlight. Jerrica is on the LifeFlight Apparel and conference committees for LifeFlight.

Jerrica enjoys spending time with her family, being outside and swimming. She also loves animals and spends her spare time volunteering at Poweshiek Animal Rescue League.

Scott Perkins, RN, EMT-PS, CCP, CEN, CFRN

Flight Nurse

Years in EMS: 21
Years of flight experience: 8

Scott has his Associate of Arts, Associate Degree in Nursing, and Associate Studies in EMT degrees from Indian Hills. He started his healthcare career at Ottumwa Regional Hospital and then moved to Iowa Methodist Medical Center where he has worked in the emergency department, ICU and flies full-time for LifeFlight. He also works in the ED/EMS system at Mahaska Health partnership. Scott instructs TNCC as well as a variety of other medical topics as requested.

His personal interests include farming, weight lifting, running, Nascar and Iowa Hawkeye football.

Scott Richard, EMT-PS

EMS Instructor and Flight Paramedic

Years in EMS: 19
Years of Flight Experience: 3

Scott holds his AAS in Paramedic Technology from Century college, his AA from Fergus Falls Community College and AA in Theology from Association of Free Lutheran Bible college. Scott's extensive work history includes several departments in Minnesota including Lakes Region EMS, Chicago City Fire Department, Virginia Fire Department and St. Louis County Sheriffs Department SWAT team. He also works in Ames with Mary Greeley Medical Center Mobile Intensive Care Services and at Iowa Methodist Medical Center as a paramedic in the Emergency Department where he is involved with the Unit practice council.
Scott has an extensive teaching background from Hibbing Community College and Mesabi Range Community College as well as being a current EMT and Paramedic Instructor at Des Moines Area Community College.

He enjoys playing hockey, guitar, and spending time with his kids.

Patrick Scheall

LifeFlight Lead aircraft mechanic

A & P Mechanic
Years in EMS/flight: 33

Patrick's career began with 5 years in the United States Marine Corp., followed by 4 years in the oil aviation industry. Most notable though has been his past 30 years as a mechanic in the EMS field. He is certified on the following aircrafts:
CH-46, Bell 205, 212, 206, 407, Pumas, Eurocopter BK 117, EC145, EC 135, AS350's

Patrick enjoys riding his Harley and spending time with family, especially his grandchildren.

Benjamin Schloss, EMT-PS, CCP, FP-C

Flight Paramedic

Years in EMS: 18
Years of flight experience: 14

Ben attended Mercy School of EMS and began his career at Monroe County EMS and Ottumwa Regional Hospital. He was a combat medic with the Iowa National Guard for 17 years, serving a one year tour in Iraq. Ben served as a flight medic at Life Guard air medical helicopter in Cedar Rapids before coming to LifeFlight. He instructs classes on patient assessment and medicine in combat,  has been actively involved on the computerized charting and IT committees, the QA committee and is a LifeFlight preceptor.

Ben's personal interests include scuba diving, wood working and attending his kid's events.

Amy Smith, RN

Flight Nurse

Years nursing: 10
Years of flight experience: 3

Amy earned her nursing degree from Iowa Central Community College in Webster City. She comes to LifeFlight with critical care nursing experience from both the ICU and Emergency Department at Iowa Lutheran Hospital. Amy also previously worked as the RN supervisor for Mahaska Health Partnership in Oskaloosa, IA. Amy is an instructor for both ACLS and PALS. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her children and traveling.

Gary Smith

LifeFlight aircraft mechanic

A & P Mechanic, IA Commercial Helicopter and Airplane

Years flying: 17
Years in EMS/flight: 4

Gary Holds his AAS in Aviation Maintenance Technology and is currently studying Aviation Administration at Utah Valley University. He has worked on general aviation aircraft as well as Eurocopter EC 145, EC135, R22, R44 helicopters and King Air airplanes. He was employed at Haps Air Service and Exec 1 Aviation, prior to joining the Air Methods Team. In his spare time, Gary's hobby is rebuilding a 1939 J3 Cub.

Michelle Welch, RN, EMT-B

Flight Nurse

Years in Healthcare: 20
Years of flight experience: 14

Michelle graduated from the Iowa Methodist School of Nursing and her focus has been in the critical care areas of ICU, emergency department and LifeFlight and Pediatric Transport Team for 11 years. Michelle has been instrumental in the development of the LifeFlight ground crew safety program and is active in the LifeFlight orientation program, calendar and conference committees. She also assists with the Fly-Along program.

During her free time, Michelle spends time with her family and enjoys exercising and running.