With a focus on safety and patient care, the Tennessee-based air medical service celebrates 35 years

Vanderbilt LifeFlight launched in 1984 with just one helicopter and a mission to serve its community.

Its fleet has grown, but LifeFlight’s mission remains the same — to provide safe transportation and exceptional medical care to patients across Tennessee.

LifeFlight, a longtime customer of Airbus Helicopters Inc., is celebrating 35 years of accident-free operations. 

“Vanderbilt Life Flight is proud to serve the citizens of Tennessee,” said Jeanne Yeatman, RN, BSN, MBA, EMT, Associate Nursing Officer for LifeFlight. “For 35 years, we have been committed to two overarching values, patient care and safety, which are central to everything we do.”

As the air medical transport service of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, LifeFlight is at the forefront of emergency air medical care.

It operates nine Airbus helicopters, a combination of the twin-engine EC145s and EC135s and single-engine H130s. All air operations are provided by Air Methods Corporation, and medical services are provided by Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

LifeFlight transports more than 3,000 patients each year in Middle and West Tennessee, parts of East Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. Since the program began, it has transported more than 40,000 patients to hospitals in Nashville and nationwide.

Airbus helicopters are recognized for their advanced safety features and spacious cabin size, which allows for full-body access to patients. The aircraft are renowned for their speed, low sound footprint and state-of-the-art avionics. In addition, the H145 and H135 have the ability to fly under instrument flight rules (IFR).

“Safety is our No. 1 product and mission,” said Kevin Nooner, MSN, RN, NE-BC, CFRN, EMT-P, Program Director for Air Medical Transport.

With more than 100 employees in its flight division, LifeFlight provides adult and pediatric emergency care, coronary care, emergency obstetrics, respiratory and burn care. Flight nurses have an average of 10 years of experience in emergency and critical care.