Right Aircraft for the Right Trip

Right Aircraft for the Right Trip

Ensuring that your air medical transportation is as safe as it can be is of the utmost importance to us.  It goes well beyond just having the correct medical equipment and personnel on board.  The type of aircraft used can mean significant reductions in the total time of transport for you and your loved ones.

One issue that we run into constantly is helping people understand the differences in the capabilities of the different type of aircraft that can be used for an air ambulance mission. On shorter flights of 3 to 4 hours (1,500 to 2,000 miles) a smaller aircraft does a brilliant job of safely transporting a patient. But when a medical flight is international (going to or from Europe or Asia) a smaller aircraft, such as a Lear Jet can really create more complications for the patient, medical team, accompanying family members and the pilots.

The problem begins with the aircraft itself. Smaller aircraft such as Lear Jets and Citations were not designed to transport people such long distances. The original profile these aircraft were designed to meet is 1 1/2 to 2 (approximately 1,000 miles) hours of flight time with occasional trips of 3 to 4 hours. Anything more requires multiple fuel stops, which of course means additional takeoffs and landings.

Last summer, Mercy Jets was asked to provide transportation for a patient from Bangalore, India to Denver, Colorado, USA. The clients were trying to decide which aircraft to use for the trip. Another air ambulance provider was suggesting using a Lear Jet for the flight but we recommended that they use a larger Challenger since it was better suited for the trip.

So what is the real difference? Time, Comfort and Safety

Here are the two Itineraries for the flight.


Challenger 604 300x200
From City To City Time
Bangalore, India Tokyo, Japan 7+25
Tokyo, Japan Anchorage, Alaska 6+08
Anchorage, Alaska Denver, Colorado 4+22
Total Flight Time 17+55


LearJet 35A 300x200
From City To City Time
Bangalore, India Chengdu, Shuangliu 5+02
Chengdu, Shuangliu Tokyo, Japan 5+10
Tokyo, Japan Petropavolvsk, Yelizovo 3+37
Petropavolvsk, Yelizovo Anchorage, Alaska 4+45
Anchorage, Alaska Seattle, Washington 3+30
Seattle, Washington Denver, Colorado 2+19
Total Flight Time 24+23


By using the appropriate air ambulance aircraft, we can shorten the trip by almost 1/2 a day! There are also three less takeoffs and landings.

We are also able to add a third (or fourth) medical team member, allowing one team to be on duty while the other takes a break. Since there are less takeoffs and landings for the air medical transport, there is less stress on the patient. The crew will be less tired and the medical team will be less fatigued, thereby increasing your safety and the level of medical care you receive.

Mercy Jets

Worldwide Air Ambulance
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