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The US Air Ambulance Landscape – Part 1


The US Air Ambulance landscape is primarily market by three factors, which are risks, costs and regulations. While some of these factors compel people to stand up, take notice and appreciate the industry, others are not so inspiring. The industry itself is a mixed bag of selflessness and profiteering – perhaps the most unique in its own way. We take a close look at all these factors in a three-part series that scans through the US Air Ambulance Industry.

Risk and the US Air Ambulance Industry

The industry truly took wings in the year 1972, and after that, medical flight service providers have mushroomed throughout the United States. Between the year 1972 and 2018, there have been a whopping 127 crashes in which 339 people have lost their lives. According to one statistic, the life-threatening accident rate of air ambulances is 800 times greater than normal flights.

Industry experts opine that had it been an airline with a safety record like the medical flight industry, it would have been shut down a long time ago.  But then, medical flights are not like the rest of the aviation industry. The quest to save lives is always on and sometimes it means the crew is morally compelled to take a few risks.

Understanding the Scenario Better

Imagine a situation where a young man is stuck in a hard-to-reach mountainous spot. The altitudes are high, the plane is treacherous and the time it possibly takes for ground ambulance is too much as the young man is seriously injured. To top that all, the weather is inching towards the subzero mark.

These are the kind of situations that US air ambulance service providers face routinely. It’s a matter of taking a call after looking at the various parameters. If the crew sees a window of opportunity, they simply take off. There are, of course, times when the gamble does not pay off and results are simply devastating.

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