July 30, 2019

General aviation, including business aviation, offers a range of air medical services throughout the U.S. and around the world. Short-range, emergency medical services typically provided by rotor-wing aircraft is perhaps the most familiar form of this service, but long-range air medical services make up a significant if lesser known part, of the industry.

AirCARE1, founded by Denise Waye in 2004, provides long-range air medical transportation from its bases in Albuquerque, NM, and Phoenix, AZ. Waye, an RN, began the business after 10 years in nursing because she found that her passion was to take care of people as a flight nurse. The company uses two Lear 35As, a Lear 36A and a Lear 60 to provide transportation in North, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean, allowing patients to receive care near their home, seek specialty care or recover from an illness or injury at home.

“Imagine being away from home and suffering a major illness or injury,” said Waye. “The ability to return to the U.S. for treatment and recovery, to be able to heal at home – it’s huge.”

AirCARE1’s aircraft are equipped as critical care/intensive care units, but provide accessibility to general aviation airports, which tend to be closer to medical facilities than airports served by airlines. The convenient location of most general aviation airports also decreases ground transportation time to medical care.

The company is woman-owned and is certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Although Waye approached the aviation industry on an untraditional path, she later became a private pilot in order to more fully understand the operational environment. She encouraged other women to become leaders and entrepreneurs in aviation.

“Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you can’t do it,” Waye said, when asked what advice she’d give to young women considering an aviation career. “Don’t listen to the naysayers. Just get out there and do it.”

Learn more about NBAA member AirCARE1.