A new helicopter will join Care Flight’s fleet, ensuring access to emergency medical care across rural Nevada

The new Care Flight 1 aircraft–funded by a $5.3 million grant from the William N. Pennington Foundation–was unveiled Wednesday, Jan. 24 and will begin service in late winter 2024.

From left, Director of Care Flight Operations Vanessa Coyle, Vice Chair of the REMSA Health Board of Directors Michael Pagni, REMSA Health President and CEO Barry Duplantis, William N. Pennington Foundation Directors Rick Banis and Fred Scarpello, Chair of the REMSA Health Board of Directors Shirley Folkins-Roberts and Secretary of the REMSA Health Board of Directors Louis Test, appear with the new Care Flight 1 helicopter during an event celebrating its arrival at the REMSA Health campus Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, in Reno, Nev.

Jan. 24, 2024 (RENO, Nev.) – Care Flight, a service of REMSA Health, celebrated the arrival of a new helicopter. The new aircraft, Care Flight 1, will begin service in late winter 2024, ensuring access to life-saving emergency medical care in rural Nevada. It will replace a similar, but older model helicopter. Care Flight 1 will be based in Fallon as one of four in Care Flight’s fleet of helicopters.

A $5.3 million grant from the William N. Pennington Foundation funded the purchase of Care Flight 1 – one of four needed rotor-wing aircraft. This addition enables the organization to invest in highly innovative safety features, clinical advancements and state-of-the-art air ambulance technology. The grant is the largest made to REMSA Health, which is a not-for-profit organization that does not receive local tax subsidies. In the coming years, the other Care Flight helicopters will need to be replaced with new aircraft to ensure REMSA Health can continue to provide emergency air ambulance services to some of the rural communities it serves.

“On behalf of REMSA Health and Care Flight, I extend my deepest gratitude to the William N. Pennington Foundation for their generous support of our Care Flight program and sustaining rural healthcare for those in need,” said Barry Duplantis, president and CEO, REMSA Health. “We’re thrilled to celebrate with our providers, partners and community to commemorate this vital addition to our fleet. Care Flight 1 bolsters our commitment to safely providing clinically excellent, compassionate care to patients throughout our region for decades to come.”


REMSA Health and Care Flight staff–past and present–as well as healthcare partners and first-response partners gathered to commemorate the arrival of Care Flight 1 on Wednesday, Jan. 24. Community leaders including Sparks Mayor Ed Lawson, City of Sparks Councilmen Donald Abbott and Kristopher Dahir, and City of Sparks Councilwoman Dian VanderWell; Washoe County Manager Eric Brown and Washoe County Commissioners Michael Clark and Mariluz Garcia attended the celebration event.

Care Flight 1 is an Airbus H-125 B3E helicopter. This Airbus helicopter model is particularly well-suited for the high altitude, alpine environments and extreme temperature spans typical of the northern Nevada region.

The Pennington Foundation’s Mission Statement, written by the late William Pennington states that the foundation provides grants to Nevada-based organizations in the areas of education, community services, healthcare, and medical research.

“In the Foundation’s Mission Statement, Mr. Pennington says, ‘The Foundation supports organizations that help people and families persevere through difficult times,’” said Duplantis. “Our healthcare providers see people on some of their darkest and most difficult days. We are deeply honored to be entrusted by the Foundation to fulfill Mr. Pennington’s commitment to community service and to helping people persevere.”

Care Flight has transported and treated critically ill and injured patients across the region for more than 40 years. As a critical component of access to healthcare across rural Nevada and eastern California, Care Flight’s helicopter service transports approximately 1,500 patients every year, across a region of more than 50,000 square miles. Accredited for 21 consecutive years by CAMTS, the national organization that evaluates medical air services, Care Flight’s helicopter fleet is staffed by highly-trained medical critical care nurses and paramedics who are committed to continuing the legacy of safely providing clinically excellent, compassionate care.

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