Air Ambulance FAQ: What Is a Fixed Base of Operations?
You may have seen us mention an FBO, or fixed base of operations, in some of our earlier MedFlight911 air ambulance blog posts. But if you're not a pilot, you may not really know what that term means.
FBOs are flight service centers that are located at both private air fields and large international airports. These facilities provide refueling, hanger space, parking, maintenance, and other services for aircraft. An FBO may also provide accommodations for pilots and passengers, such as restrooms, restaurant facilities, crew rest lounges or access to ground transportation services. Typically, they're run by private companies, though at very small airports, the FBO may be publicly owned and operated.
If you're flying on a MedFlight911 air ambulance flight, you'll be departing from a fixed base of operations, not a regular commercial airport terminal. That might seem a bit unusual if you're used to traveling on major airlines from crowded, hectic airports. But much of the air traffic in the U.S. is general aviation, including air ambulance flights, and these flights often use FBOs. And once you visit an FBO, you may never want to go back to a commercial airport.
So what exactly does using an FBO mean for you as a passenger? Basically, if you're traveling on a MedFlight911 flight out of, say, Miami International Airport, you won't head to the main passenger terminal, check-in at the airline counter, and proceed through security to catch your air ambulance flight. Instead, you'll go directly to the FBO (usually accompanied by trained medical staff from MedFlight911) and board your plane from there – no long lines, and no waiting. And the security process is different; read about the air ambulance transport process.
For our patients, using an FBO makes the entire air medical transport process so much easier and less stressful, and it allows us to get on our way as quickly as possible. Usually, we can move the patient directly from the ground ambulance to the air ambulance, and get the accompanying passengers and the crew onto the plane without too much hassle.
Another good thing about using FBOs for our air ambulance service is that they allow us a lot more flexibility in where we can go and which patients we can serve. Many people in the U.S. don't live close to a commercial airport, which can make getting anywhere via airplane pretty difficult. But by using FBOs, we can fly into smaller airports that never see commercial traffic. Usually, even if a patient isn't near a commercial airport, there's an FBO relatively close by, and we can arrange to pick them up at that location.
Do you have more questions about what will happen on the day of your air ambulance flight? You can always contact us with your concerns. We're happy to explain the air medical transport process to put your mind at ease.
To find out more about MedFlight911's air ambulance services give us a call at 888-359-1911 or get a no-obligation worldwide air ambulance quote here.