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Our Service Begins With You

At MedFlight911, we offer this promise to each and every one of our valued clients: "Our Service Begins with You."

That means from the moment you call our office we will:

  • Go above and beyond to help and serve you.
  • Make the process simple, easy and worry-free.
  • Take care of every detail so you don't have to.
  • Act as your partner and advocate throughout the process.
  • Treat your patient / loved one like family.
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September 19, 2012

What's an Empty Leg? Advanced Air Ambulance Terminology 101

Every industry has its jargon, and the world of long-distance medical transport is no exception. If you stepped into the MedFlight911 offices, you might hear us throwing around terms like “empty leg,” “FBO” or “duty time.” These terms are familiar to those of us who have worked in the advanced air ambulance industry for years, but sometimes we forget that patients and their families may not be as familiar with our lingo. To help you out, we've put together this brief glossary of a few of the terms you may not know.

Empty leg. Most air ambulance flights are one way, which means that after a patient is dropped off at his or her destination, the crew usually needs to fly the empty plane back to its originating airport. The cost of this “empty leg” is built into the overall cost of the trip. However, if we can find another patient who needs a transport on what would otherwise be an empty flight, we can reduce costs for both patients.

Duty time. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has rules about how long a pilot can fly before he or she needs to rest. Pilot duty time and mandated rest periods are important factor that we need to consider when we plan long-distance medical transports, particularly international trips that may involve many hours of flight time.

Fixed wing vs. Rotor wing. Air ambulances fall into two broad categories: fixed wing (or airplanes) and rotor wing (or helicopters). Rotor-wing air ambulances are typically used for emergency transports over relatively short distances. Fixed-wing air ambulances are used for longer transports. At MedFlight911, all our advanced air ambulance transports are done via fixed-wing aircraft.

Basic life support (BLS), advanced life support (ALS) and critical care transport (CCT). These acronyms designate the different levels of care we provide in our air ambulances. BLS involves care such as oxygen delivery, basic airway management, monitoring vital signs, and CPR. ALS involves advanced airway management, cardiac monitoring, defibrillation, IV administration, and more. CCT is for patients who need the most complex monitoring and care (for example, they may be on a ventilator or need complicated drugs).

Bedside-to-bedside. Bedside-to-bedside service is our approach to offering coordinated care to the patients we serve. Essentially, it means that for most of our transports, a member of our medical team is with the patient from the moment they leave their current location to the moment they arrive at their destination. This approach to medical transport allows our team to communicate with the patient's doctors both at the departing facility and the receiving facility to ensure the patient gets the care he or she needs.

FBO. An FBO, or fixed-base of operations, is a location at an airport (whether it's a small airfield or large commercial facility) that provides refueling, hanger space, parking, maintenance and other services for aircraft. MedFlight911 air ambulance flights depart from an FBO, not a regular commercial facility.

Air ambulance terms can be a bit confusing at times. If you're a patient or family member and there's something you don't understand, just let us know. We're always happy to offer an explanation!

To find out more about MedFlight911's advanced air ambulance services give us a call at 888-359-1911 or get a no-obligation medflight air ambulance quote here.

MedFlight911: Get your Air Medical transport started right now - Request a Transfer.



  • L. C. TX

    Just a note to say thanks for all that you did for our family this past week. MedFlight911 went way over board in helping with JT's transport.
  • A. R. Brussels

    At this level, one firm among those mentioned above, was offering noticeably a best quote: Medflight911.
  • J. T. KY

    MedFlight911 is fantastic! There is a genuine interest in the customer and the family. Communication was informative.
  • R. N. Venezula

    One more time I would really like to thank you and your crew for all the help getting my father to Houston.
  • H. W. GA

    MedFlight911's service was Excellent! I would highly recommend MedFlight911 to anyone. The planning was seamless.
  • Katlin E. OR | Patient

    MedFlight911, I wanted to thank all of you for helping me and my twin boys with our medical transports. Although the trip felt like it was just minutes in length,
  • S. L. CA

    Thank you for your hard work and tireless effort in getting my father back to CA. I truly appreciated MedFlight911's capabilities in getting him safely back to his home.
  • J. S. CA

    Dear WONDERFUL folks, First of all our hearts are overflowing with gratitude for the professional and compassionate way in which you have embraced our inquiries into your services. Thank you for all
  • F. Z. CA

    We appreciated MedFlight911's professional service from beginning to end. You delivered a high-quality, smooth and friendly service not only to my father but also to our whole family.
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