Remembering Our Roots – The History of the Air Ambulance

By: Angel MedFlight Contributor

Angel MedFlight Air Ambulance HistoryPhoto via Ira G. Ross / Niagara Aerospace Museum

Some of the most powerful, private civilian jets in the sky are flown by Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance. Both of the Learjet 60s in the fleet dominate the standard air ambulance class in both patient comfort and speed. But we couldn’t have come this far without the pioneers who started the industry nearly 80 years ago. Here is a look at the aeronautical innovation over time that has made the intensive care unit aircraft the ideal method of medical transportation.

The history of the air ambulance.

On May 15th 1928, the first air ambulance service was created in Australia by Rev. John Flynn. Travel on uncharted roadways and time constraints would limit the care doctors were able to provide. The Royal Flying Doctor Service was created to reach individuals spanning nearly 1.2 million miles in need of medical attention.

The first aircraft used as an ambulance was a De Havilland model DH50. This single-engine plane was able to carry 4 passengers and a pilot and was capable of reaching a cruising speed of 80 miles per hour. The aircraft was named ‘Victory’ and went on to fly a total of 110,000 miles before it was replaced by a DH83 Fox Moth. In 1934, Africa was the next continent to adopt the idea. The Morocco air ambulance service was established by Marie Marvingt.

Introduction to the United States.

In 1947, the United States would enter into the air ambulance industry for the first time. Since then, aircraft, including helicopters – which are used by a large number of hospitals, multi-engine prop aircraft and jet aircraft would become the standard for the air ambulance industry.

Innovation in the industry.

The air ambulance industry has grown vastly. Angel MedFlight has been influential in the services many companies offer, but is proud to have a perfect record of safety and client satisfaction. In addition to the changes in technology, changes in services have evolved. Angel MedFlight created Bedside to Bedside® service that takes out the middlemen and allows our medical team to travel from one hospital bedside to the final destination without ever switching hands to other teams that do not know the full background of the patient. Angel MedFlight also realized the trouble patients had when calling in to other companies; they would speak with operators who had no idea about answering medical questions, so they created the One Touch Promise®. This promise allows patients to speak to registered nurses that deal only with that particular case; one call, one person, one touch. These offerings allow Angel MedFlight to handle every aspect of a patient’s ordeal, including insurance company arrangements and providing safe, medically escorted travels from one hospital bed to the next, at no additional cost.

From a small, single-engine prop plane with a cruising speed of 80mph to a duel-engine jet with cruising speeds of 484mph, air ambulance and aviation technology have grown strong from their roots. The future of the induisttrryu is yet to be known. By studying the history of the industry, evaluating the progress made, and discovering new technology in aviation and medical care, future patients can surely expect a bright future for their experience in medical transportation.

One comment on “Remembering Our Roots – The History of the Air Ambulance

  1. The Public Historian says:

    Thank you for sharing. I don’t think many know how long aviation has been instrumental in medical emergency situations. Eighty years of air ambulance history is extraordinary. I would love to share more of this history with my followers.

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