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Why do we need helicopter ambulances?

Helicopter ambulances, or rotor-wing ambulances, serve in place of ground ambulances when people suffer traumatic injuries far away from medical facilities. They are meant to rescue individuals who are critically injured at the scene and then transport them to a hospital as quickly as possible.

Rico Aviation operates two helicopter ambulances based in Dalhart, TX and Tucumcari, NM. That means Rico Aviation can respond to emergencies in southern Colorado, northeastern New Mexico, and the Panhandle region.

What kind of helicopter can serve as an ambulance?

In the pursuit of offering the most advanced air ambulance services, Rico Aviation operates 2 Bell 407 rotor-wing air ambulance from Air Methods. These helicopters are incredibly sophisticated and offer many unique features which allow us to respond to a wide variety of emergencies.

Bell 407 Specs

The Bell 407 helicopter is a four-blade, single-engine aircraft. The four-blade design helps not only with overall control but also makes the Bell 407 much more powerful and faster than two-blade helicopters. The Bell 407 is almost 42 feet long and 12 feet tall. It weighs well over a ton, coming in at 2,668 pounds when empty, and can handle a payload of another 1,200 pounds during sustained flight. The 407 has a range of 372 miles, and a top speed of a blinding 140 knots, or 260 km/h.

The internal cabin of the helicopter is spacious, as it was designed to house a maximum of 6 people. This room has allowed us to outfit our helicopters with a host of top-of-the-line medical capabilities in the cabin while preserving ample space to navigate which enables us to provide the highest quality care and` emergency treatment.

Who serves on an air ambulance?

During the flight, your loved one will be cared for by one of our certified nurses. Our nurses all have adult and pediatric critical care training as well as advanced trauma care certification. Our employees undergo new training every three months to make sure that we are on the cutting edge of new standards and practices. All medical staff is required to maintain advanced certifications as required by Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems to ensure a higher level of knowledge and skill.

Flight Nurses and Paramedics

Rico Aviation requires all of its nurses to hold the following certifications:

  • Certified Emergency Nurse/CEN
  • Critical Care Registered Nurse/CCRN
  • Certified Flight Registered Nurse/CFRN
  • Certified Transport Registered Nurse/CTRN

Similarly, paramedics on board are all Certified Flight Paramedics (FP-C) and held to the highest CAMTS standards.


Rico Aviation requires all pilots to hold the following certifications:

  • ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) rating- the highest level of aircraft pilot rating in the United States.
  • A minimum of 3500 hours flight time
  • Annual recurrent simulator training consisting of In-flight emergency procedures

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