First Flight, a fully licensed air ambulance company that provides around-the-clock fixed-wing medical air transport for emergency and non-emergency patients from rural area hospitals, has selected San Angelo Regional Airport for its central Texas base of operations.
First Flight has leased a 7,000-square-foot hangar and offices at San Angelo Regional Airport. The space will serve as the base for supporting operations in west and central Texas. First Flight will have a new crew quarters building just outside the airport grounds.
“After many months of work, we are pleased to announce the opening of our San Angelo base of operations,” said Denny O’Hara, First Flight president. “The San Angelo operations facility will allow us to continue to grow our business of supporting hospitals in smaller communities with state-of-the art fixed-wing aircraft to transport patients to larger medical facilities for specialized care.”
First Flight’s San Angelo aircraft is a King Air C-90 which has a top speed of 311 miles per hour. The pressurized planes are fast, quiet and provide room for state-of-the-art technology to provide an exceptional level of care. Each plane is equipped with highly trained flight paramedics and nurses that have earned critical care certification. First Flight has hired four paramedics and will hire up to 12 employees within the year. San Angeloan, Nathan De La Cruz is the new base manager.
“We know First Flight will have a positive impact on the community,” said San Angelo Mayor, Dwain Morrison. “San Angelo Regional airport has all the necessary support facilities, hangar space and strategic location to make this a win-win for First Flight, the Concho Valley and surrounding communities. We are proud to have this kind of economic development with a company as experienced and successful as First Flight”. “San Angelo Regional is a natural strategic link between central and west Texas” said Michael Looney, VP of Economic Development for the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce. “We began working with the First Flight team in August of last year and spent a lot of time working on this project for over ten months. We are pleased to have accomplished our mission of brining First Flight’s services and new jobs to San Angelo. Increasing the aviation sector of the economy and contributing to capital investment at the airport are strategic goals,” said Looney.
O’Hara said the company was impressed with the airport’s staff and facilities, including its Federal Aviation Administration control tower and 8,000 foot long runway. “We are glad to serve the community of San Angelo and have built relationships with the medical and healthcare operations in and around San Angelo and the surrounding region,” said Gerald Brown, Regional Operations Manager for First Flight. “We are also appreciative of the help and assistance from the staff of the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce during the last ten months to help make this a reality.”
First Flight began full operations on May 15th and will have a crew on standby 24-hours a day and can be in the air with a patient within 15 minutes. “Our crew and pilots will be stationed in special quarters next to the airport grounds. They can receive a patient via ambulance and have the patient in the air within approximately five to ten minutes from arrival. “Speed and a stable flight are crucial, especially with a critically ill or injured patient. First Flight has demonstrated its ability to perform these patient transfers with maximum efficiency and comfort for the patient and flight crew,” said Brown.