Before our first flight in 1985, residents endured long ground transport times in the face of illness or injury. In fact, studies suggested that those living east of the Cascade Mountains were nearly three times more likely to die due to the distance from adequate medical care.
As one of the first paramedics in the state and an experienced firefighter, program creator Vern Bartley, together with Julie Molin, worked with local leaders, medical experts and the EMS council to create a locally owned, regional air ambulance with a focus on stellar patient care. Initially called Air Life of Oregon, the program progressively got its footing, cheered on in no small part by the residents it served.
Partnering with St. Charles – Bend, as well as many local EMS crews, the program grew into a financially stable, well-respected organization with a unique angle: Working, training and flying together, the various medical and flight staff developed a type of seamless patient care—from landing zone to flight to hospital; these professionals were adept at saving lives.
Creating a membership program to become self-sustaining, Bartley and a cadre of volunteers from central and eastern Oregon grew the program to include individual and business memberships, combination air/ground memberships and far more.
Today, re-named AirLink Critical Care Transport but with the same strong emphasis on excellence in patient care, the program thrives. Since its inception, AirLink has flown more than 24,000 missions and boasts a long-tenured crew. As the only air ambulance in the region to offer neonatal (mother and infant) transport, AirLink is setting the standard as the premier air medical transport program in the northwest.
AirLink CCT is a “DBA” for Med-Trans Corporation. All AirLink CCT aircraft and flights are conducted by, and operational control is exercised solely by Metro Aviation, Inc. Metro Aviation, Inc is a FAA Part 135 certificate holder and operator.