An air ambulance plane is a safe, comfortable method of transporting patients who are too ill to travel long distances by ground. An air ambulance plane is a business class aircraft that has been specially equipped for a patient that requires extensive or urgent medical assistance and a fast and safe method of transport of a distance of 100 miles or more. These patients are too sick or weak to endure the rigors of commercial flights. The aircraft is manned by a medical flight crew and carries equipment including respirators, medication, an ECG and monitoring unit, CPR equipment, and stretchers.
There are two types of air ambulances used for medical transport: helicopters and fixed wing airplanes. Helicopters are used for short-haul, trauma-related emergency flights when time is of the essence. Helicopters are typically managed by hospitals, or city, county and state Emergency Management Systems. Fixed wing aircraft are used for non-emergency medical air transport.