Med Flight 25th Anniversary Timeline

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25th Anniversary

Med Flight Milestone: 25 Years, 25,000 Miles

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UW Health Med Flight helicopterUW Med Flight is dedicated to serving the public as an aero-medical extension of the UW Health system.
We are available 24 hours a day, every day, to provide care and transport to critically ill or injured patients from a 250-mile radius in Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota.
Med Flight Timeline
Since its inception in 1985 the UW Med Flight program has witnessed many changes and made many improvements. 
From the beginning, Med Flight has included a physician in its flight crew, and remains one of the few programs in the country to provide this level of care on air transports. Here are a few more milestones in Med Flight's history.
Med Flight flying over Madison's Isthmus1985
  • On April 22, UW Med Flight began offering service with a single engine Dauphin aircraft.
  • The following day, Med Flight received its first call and transported a patient from Adams County.
  • 36 trips were made in the first month and by July 12 of that year, 100 patients had been transported.
  • The age of patients transported ranged from less than one day old to 94 years old.
  • The average round trip for a flight was 116 miles.


  • 1986: Aircraft was upgraded to a twin engine Dauphin.
  • 1986: UW Med Flight incorporated instrument flight capabilities, statistically the safest mode of flying.
  • 1987: In January, Med Flight transported its 1,000th patient.
  • 1987: The first hangar was completed in June. Prior to that Med Flight sat on an open helipad.
  • 1990: A second helipad was completed on the fourth floor of UW Hospital and Clinics.
  • 1994: In October, the 5,000th patient was transported.
  • 1995: The Federal Aviation Administration certified Med Flight with the nation's second Global Positioning System approach to a hospital helipad, enhancing Med Flight's ability to safely land in adverse weather.
  • 1995: In January, the 8,000th patient was transported.
  • 1998: Med Flight added an additional aircraft and crew for 12 hours a day.


  • 1999: UW Med Flight aircraft was upgraded to the Agusta Power 109E.
  • 2004: With UW Hospital, Med Flight implemented a Level One Heart Attack Program, working with EMS providers and regional hospitals to shave critical time in patient transport and provide faster, life-saving care for heart attack patients.
  • 2006: Med Flight moved to new offices with a helipad and two hangars on the 8th floor of UW Hospital and Clinics.


  • 2007: UW Med Flight aircraft switched to EC135 helicopters.
  • 2008: Three crew members died in a Med Flight helicopter accident near LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
  • 2008: Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems were installed in the aircraft.
  • 2009: Night Vision Goggle training and use was implemented by all crew members.
  • 2009: Med Flight transported its 25,000th patient.