Sanford Health Launches Air Ambulance Fleet

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New Aircraft Feature Advanced Technology, Safer Design

Sanford Health Air Ambulance Fleet

As we continue to grow together, we are always improving the technology and equipment available for patients across our footprint and beyond.

Sanford Health Air Ambulance completed upgrades to its fleet with three new helicopters that went into service on July 1, 2012. The entire fleet includes three EC-145 helicopters, one Bell 230 and four King Air B200 fixed-wing airplanes. The aircraft are based out of Sioux Falls, SD, Fargo, ND and Bemidji, MN and serve patients both nationally and internationally in Canada.

The most recent addition includes three EC-145 helicopters at an approximate cost of $7.2 million each. The new EC-145’s are a safer, upgraded version because of their higher tail rotor, making it safer to work around while running. It’s also a larger aircraft, which allows patients to be transported on a stretcher, avoiding sometimes difficult position changes for patients.

“Helicopter air ambulances provide fast, safe transport services from the scene of accidents anywhere from farmsteads to roadside accident scenes across the Midwest and beyond,” says Tim Meyer, Sanford Health Director for Emergency Air Transport. “These helicopters feature night vision, a 30-second start up and shutdown time and a wheeled patient stretcher. They really offer the latest in emergency flight technology.”

Sanford Air Ambulance teams served approximately 3,000 patients by helicopter or fixed-wing in 2011. With state-of-the-art medical equipment, medical crews transport the sickest of patients with specialty crews in the areas of neonatal & pediatric intensive care and obstetrics & gynecology.

While helicopters are suited for easy access, fixed-wing airplanes can travel anywhere in North America and are best used for inclement weather environments and long distance needs. These planes have short runway capability and can hold up to two patients and five critical care attendants.

“As we continue to grow together, we are always improving the technology and equipment available for patients across our footprint and beyond,” said Mike Christianson, Sanford Health Director of Aviation. “We couldn’t be more excited about this step in improving care for our patients.”

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Download photos of the Sanford Air Ambulance Fleet

About Sanford Health
Sanford Health is an integrated health system headquartered in Fargo, ND and Sioux Falls, SD and consists of two long-standing organizations that merged in 2009. Sanford is now the largest, rural, not-for-profit health care system in the nation with locations in 112 communities in seven states. In addition, Sanford Health is in the process of developing international clinics in Ireland, Ghana, Israel and Mexico.

Sanford Health includes 34 hospitals, 116 clinic locations and more than 1,000 physicians in 70 specialty areas of medicine. With more than 20,000 employees, Sanford Health is the largest employer in North and South Dakota. The system is experiencing dynamic growth and development in conjunction with Denny Sanford's $400 million gift in 2007, the largest gift ever to a health care organization in America. This gift is making possible the implementation of the several initiatives including global children's clinics, multiple research centers, eradicating breast cancer and finding a cure for type 1 diabetes. For more information, visit

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Andrea Voorhees
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