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AirCare History


Fall 1986. Hospital Social Services realizes a need to transfer cardiac patients to Albuquerque for cardiac care not available locally. ICU, EMS and Social Services define an on-call list of interested staff. Four Corners Aviation provides an airplane as needed. EMS provides patient monitoring equipment.

October 15, 1986. An EMS paramedic and ICU nurse transport the first patient to Presbyterian Hospital, Albuquerque. By the end of the first twelve months the program transports 30-40 patients each month.

1986-1990 Patients are transported from facilities across the region including Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez, Mercy in Durango and Chinle and Kayenta, Arizona.

1990-1992 The hospital Board names the air ambulance department San Juan Regional AirCare. The department has a single full time employee/manager. The flight crew remain on-call working in other departments. AirCare manager develops business plan for helicopter program and permanent airplane upgrade.

July 1, 1992 AirCare completes the first helicopter mission in AirCare 1, a Bell 206 Long Ranger. Pilots and aviation services provided by Air Methods. October 1992, AirCare introduces AirCare 2, a King Air turboprop airplane. Pilots and aviation services provided by Four Corners Aviation. AirCare 1 is staffed 24/7 with a paramedic, RN and pilot, AirCare 2 is staffed 12/7 with an identical crew.

1993 AirCare is accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Air Medical Services (CAAMS). AirCare has remained continuously accredited—renamed Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS). AirCare 1 Bell 206 is replaced with a Bell 222 UT twin engine, two-patient, Instrument-capable helicopter.

1996 AirCare 2 goes 24/7 with nurse, paramedic and pilot on duty—crew quarters, offices and maintenance permanently located at the airport hangar.

2000 AirCare moves upstairs above the new Emergency Department with a rooftop helipad, helicopter hanger, crew quarters and offices.

2002 AirCare2 introduces the King Air airplane replacement, a Pilatus PC-12, single engine, two-patient, cargo door equipped workhorse. Pilots and aviation services provided by Air Methods.

October 2008 San Juan Regional purchases the Pilatus PC-12 closing out lease.

September 2011 San Juan Regional purchases a Bell 429 twin engine helicopter. San Juan Regional expands cardiac services becoming a Heart Center. AirCare transports patients with STEMI and other cardiac emergencies from throughout the region to the Heart Center.

2011 to 2016 San Juan Regional develops a Trauma Referral line and attains Stroke Center status. AirCare transports patients throughout the region to the San Juan Regional Stroke and Trauma Center.

2021 AirCare 2 introduces a Pilatus PC-12 NGX to replace our 1997 model Pilatus. The new airplane is equipped with the latest technological improvements, including enhanced safety aids for the pilot and crew and improved safety, comfort and quiet for our patients.



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