Can our air ambulances fly long distances?

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Air ambulances are used in medical emergencies when a patient needs to be transported to a specialized medical facility for treatment of severe injuries or illnesses. If you or a loved one are considering chartering a medical flight, one question that may cross your mind is how far an air ambulance can actually fly. Indeed, this is significant because foreigners who are injured in a host country will frequently want to return to their home country to receive treatment, necessitating the use of a company that can come and pick them up from wherever they are. Medical Air Service has the ability to travel almost anywhere in the world. Let us tell you more about the range of our air ambulances.

How far can our air ambulances fly?

Before we get into the specifics, it is important to understand the different types of aircraft that we use for our ambulance flights. To give you an idea of our great versatility, our aeromedical transport fleet consists of planes and helicopters. Let us begin with the latter.

How far can our helicopter ambulances fly?

In general, most helicopters can fly for an extended period of time or a significant distance before needing to stop or refuel. Typically, this equates to 2.5 to 5 hours on one tank of gas, which translates to a range of 320 to 640 km. Of course, not all helicopters are capable of this.

Without a doubt, how far a helicopter can fly varies according to its size and type, as well as a variety of other factors, such as the capacity and number of its fuel tanks. To cite a few examples, while larger off-shore and search-and-rescue helicopters can fly up to 1280 km, gas-turbine powered helicopters have a range of 480 – 720 km and average piston-engine helicopters only between 320 – 560 km.

ambulance helicopter

We decided not to include military helicopters in this article because many of them have the benefit of in-flight refueling. That is not going to happen for the civilian patient. So, let us focus on the helicopters that can be chartered via Medical Air Service:

Helicopters are one of the most versatile aircraft in the aeromedical world, capable of landing on the rooftop helipad of a hospital or, under the right circumstances, in a backyard when they arrive at their destination, but their range is much shorter than that of their fixed-winged counterparts.

How far can our fixed-wing ambulances fly?

Fixed-wing aircraft are true marvels of modern technology, allowing passengers to travel between the four corners of the globe in a record time. The range of a plane is also determined by numerous factors: its aerodynamic efficiency, its propulsive efficiency, its size, how fast it is flying and, the main limiting factor, its fuel capacity.

So, how long can an airplane fly before it needs to be refueled? When flying at 900 km/h, a modern Boeing 747 can cover approximately 15,000 km. This means it can fly for nearly 16 hours nonstop!

Besides the example mentioned above, how long can Medical Air Service’s fixed-wing aircraft fly without refueling? The Boeing Business Jet has a range of 11480 km, the Bombardier Challenger 650 7408km and the Bombardier Learjet 35 can travel up to 3690 km. Other models vary depending on the fuel tanks that are installed, while keeping in mind that standard tanks have a seven-hour capacity.

Now that you know how far our aeromedical transport options can travel, let's get to the bottom of another crucial question: can they reach remote locations? Yes, they can! However, a fuel stop might be needed depending on the range of the aircraft that has been assigned to you, as well as its fuel tank capacity.

However, as a general rule, helicopters are used for short distances. There are several reasons for this, including the critical nature of the patient’s condition. Air ambulances, on the other hand, unlike scheduled commercial flights, are ideal for long-distance patient transfer. Aside from their higher fuel capacity and the other different reasons stated above, their ability to carry extensive medical equipment and a team of doctors and paramedics capable of dealing with any in-flight complications make them the first choice when it comes to long-distance travel.

We would also like to point out that Medical Air Service aircraft can be found all over the world. So, when you book one of our medical flights, we dispatch a plane that meets your needs from one of the countries that is closest to your location, and this enables our team to pick you up as soon as possible.

Who uses our long-distance air ambulance service?

People who need medical treatment in another country can book an ambulance flight. Indeed, one of our services is medical evacuation in the context of medical tourism. It is also worth noting that patients suffering from Covid-19 symptoms can take advantage of our ambulance flights. Strictly banned from commercial flights, they are transferred via our aircraft from one country to another under strict health controls.

Our long-distance ambulance flights are available to almost everyone across continents, regardless of their needs. Nevertheless, as the name implies, our ambulance flights are primarily used by people who are ill or injured in a foreign country and wish to return to their home country to continue their treatment after receiving emergency care. These patients, whose conditions must be stabilized before they can fly long distances, may have a wide range of medical conditions. They may have cardiovascular issues, thrombosis, respiratory distress, or polytrauma, making it impossible for them to travel safely on a commercial flight.

long distance air ambulance

Stranded overseas because of Covid-19 border restrictions, you wonder if we can repatriate you? We certainly do! Call us right away to book your flight.

More information about our missions can be found by clicking here.

How much does a long-distance air ambulance cost?

It is critical to recognize that each of our missions is unique, and that each of our patients has distinct needs as well. As a result, calculating the exact cost of an ambulance flight can be difficult without further details about your situation. However, to give you a better sense of the factors at play when calculating the price, here is a list of what we consider:

  • The patient's mental and physical health;
  • His personal needs;
  • The medical equipment/medication he may require during the flight;
  • Travel dates;
  • Departure and arrival locations.

It is also important to note that a long-haul flight does not always cost more. As previously stated, we can dispatch an aircraft that is closer to your location or, with your permission, slightly shift your departure date in order to reduce costs.

What are your options for short distances?

They are reduced to three options: helicopter ambulances if the patient is in a critical condition, short-distance air ambulance flights or ground ambulances. It is important to note, however, that while land ambulances are popular for short distances, particularly between cities within the same country, they are subject to the vagaries of traffic. The patient's transfer to a health facility can then be delayed. That is why we assess the gravity of your situation before recommending a land ambulance or not.

What are the benefits of booking a long-distance air ambulance with Medical Air Service?

There are numerous! To summarize, here are some of the benefits that our clients frequently mention:

We operate worldwide. Recognized as a global company with offices around the world, we offer our services wherever you are;

Our staff speak almost all languages. We can even provide you with an interpreter to help you communicate with medical personnel or government officials in a foreign country;

We offer the most cost-optimized solutions. This is due to the fact that we consider a variety of factors in order to provide you with the most economical alternative. Finally, you only pay for what you request, with the assurance that you will always receive high-quality service;

Our aircraft fleet is at your disposal. Take a look at our aeromedical transports to get an idea of the scope of your options.

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Our agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please contact us as soon as possible for more information on the cost of your medical flight or to arrange for an air ambulance flight. 

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