Glossary of Air Ambulance Terms and Definitions
Terminology used when discussing air medical operations can seem daunting to those unfamiliar with the industry (and even those who have been in the industry need an occasional refresher course). With the frequent usage of both esoteric aviation and medical terms and acronyms, air medical talk can seem like it is mostly jargon.
Whether you are a patient or family member looking into air medical transportation, or have been part of an air ambulance organization for some time, this list of definitions for some of the most common aeromedical terms and acronyms you are likely to come across may be a useful reference tool.
Air Medical Glossary of Terms
Referring to the use of specially-equipped aircraft for medical purposes, such as transporting patients to and from hospitals or transporting organs for transplantation.
A high-tech aircraft staffed with medical personnel, used for transporting patients quickly and comfortably. Also used to transport medical cargo, such as organs or equipment.
Acronym for Air Medical Net.
Air Traffic Control
Term used to describe “full service” air medical transportation from the patient’s current location to the patient’s destination (or from bed to bed) without necessitating the need for alternate transportation after disembarking the air ambulance.
Centers for Disease Control (US)
Cleared Flight Level. Refers to the flight level in which the aircraft is cleared to obtain.
Code of Federal Regulations
Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems
Emergency Medical Services
Emergency Medical Technician
Federal Aviation Administration. An agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation that serves as the national aviation authority / regulator in the United States.
Federal Aviation Regulation
A tail rotor of a helicopter that is completely shrouded by a housing in the fin, similar to a ducted fan on an airship or VTOL aircraft. Being integrated into the fin gives Fenestrons additional protection against accidental damage compared to conventional tail rotors. Also known as a fantail.
An aircraft with stationary wings, such as a propeller plane or jet plane. In the air medical world, fixed-wing aircraft are generally used to transport patients over long distances in both emergency or non-emergency situations.
Flight Operations Center
General Operations Manual
Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS):
Worldwide position, velocity and time determination system that uses one or more satellite constellations.
Global Positioning System (GPS):
Satellite-based radio navigation system.
Joint Aviation Authority
Rules and regulations of the Joint Aviation Authority.
Abbreviation for medical evacuation.
People with medical training who may provide medical care during a flight.
Minimum Equipment List
Global Positioning System operated by the United States Department of Defense.
On an air medical crew, a respiratory therapist provides specialized care and treatment of acute and chronic breathing disorders during the flight.
An aircraft with moving wings or blades. Generally refers to a helicopter. In the air medical world, rotor-wing aircraft are generally used to quickly transport patients short distances in emergency situations.
Other Regulated Materials
Pilot in Command
Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum
Traffic Collision Avoidance System
Relating to modern fixed-wing aircraft that use efficient, high-performance turbine engines to power propellers, rather than jet engines. Often used in air ambulances and other small commuter planes.
World Health Organization