Air Medical Transportation

Many people who hear an airplane or helicopter flying overhead will pause to think, “I wonder where they’re going?”  Images of tropical locations or big, exciting cities may pop into mind.  Rarely, I would bet, do thoughts turn to air transportation for medical reasons. 

Air Medical Services

The term “Air Medical Services” refers to the use of a plane or helicopter to transport medical personnel and/or patients from Point A to Point B.  Helicopters are probably most commonly thought of, as they are typically used in emergency situations such as serious car accidents or a rescue operation. 

However, air medical transportation is not strictly for emergencies and many times a jet or propeller aircraft is the appropriate vehicle.   


In a rescue scenario, the terrain surrounding the individual in need is generally impossible for a ground ambulance to successfully navigate.  Injuries sustained while hiking, camping, snowmobiling or other outdoor activities in remote areas is a prime example.  A helicopter can be used to bring specialist care to the scene and subsequently move the patient to a hospital. 

It’s unfortunate, but some car accidents are so severe that the need for immediate moving of a trauma victim is necessary.  A helicopter may be used to facilitate that task, especially when time is critical, and the use of a ground vehicle is not optimal.  This may be due to its location or the congestion caused by the accident.      


In many instances, a fixed-wing plane is the most appropriate mode of transportation for medical needs.  In an organ procurement situation, for example, time is crucial.  An airplane is used to transport the life-saving organ and in some cases, the entire surgical team as well. 

Air ambulances are planes exclusively outfitted with vital medical equipment such as stretchers, ventilators and monitoring units.  When ground transportation is not feasible, these specialized aircraft are used to carry the organ recipient to the hospital.  Patients who require basic or advanced life support while traveling may also do so by air ambulance.

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation

As odd as it may seem, not all medical air flights are for emergencies.  In some cases, they are necessary for older patients or even people who live in remote areas to travel to facilities where they can receive the medical care they need.

Individuals wishing to explore medical treatment options that are not reasonably close to their home may travel via plane to their scheduled appointment.  Also, family of a person unexpectedly hospitalized in another state or even country may enlist the services of an air medical transport to return their loved one back home.

Local Example  

Here at KTOL, ProMedica Health System houses and operates the Eurocopter EC135.  This twin-engine helicopter is fitted with modern technological equipment and many superior safety features.  It is equipped for both day and night flights in most weather conditions and can accommodate up to three medical attendants in addition to its pilots and the patient.

Grand Aire is proud to be of service to this fine machine when in need of fuel through our 24/7/365 full-service FBO.  In addition, we continue to be relied upon for transportation of both surgical and transplant teams as well as human organs for many transplant centers and organ procurement companies.

For more information visit our medical air transport services page or give us a call at 1-800-70-GRAND.