If you are looking towards starting a medical transportation business, one major thing you must have, if you want to dabble in the air ambulance business, is a small plane (air ambulance). Durability is important for medical transport planes. They must be able to withstand stretchers, wheelchairs, and other heavy equipment entering and exiting the plane frequently.
The truth is that if you own a medical transportation business, you should know that your business is different from many others because your business is classified as an essential service. As a quick-service business that is constantly on the go, you have to consider flexibility, safety, speed, and cost.
Getting a reliable small plane for your business will enable you maximize profit from the business, be efficient, well-organized, and of course, cut down on downtime. The truth is that, if you don’t have reliable air ambulances as a medical transportation operator, you will find it difficult to effectively run the business.
Having said that, considering the number of options on the market, shopping for the best air ambulances for a medical transportation business can be challenging and time-consuming. In no particular order, here are 10 of the best small planes for the medical transportation business.
10 Best Types of Small Planes for Medical Transportation of Patients
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Top on our list when it comes to the best small plane you can use for a medical transportation business is The Learjet 35. The Learjet 35 is an American business jet and military transport aircraft produced by Bombardier Learjet in 1973.
It was designed with a longer range, lower fuel burn, and faster cruise speeds than its predecessor, the Learjet 25. The Learjet 35A is an upgraded model of the Learjet 35 that was introduced in 1976. the Learjet 35 boasts a good overall safety record.
The Learjet 35 has a relatively long range for a private jet and can cruise at speeds as high as 451 ktas, or 424 ktas with four passengers. Fuel consumption is excellent: the 31A burns 197 gallons of fuel per hour. There are a few other details that make the Learjet 35 a popular private jet.
Acquisition cost for the Lear 35 typically ranges from $800,000-$900,000, roughly $300,000 more than direct competition such as the Falcon 10 and Citation I. When factoring in market depreciation, this aircraft will cost a buyer $1.4-$1.6 million a year, around $50,000 less than the Lear 40.
Another small plane that is highly suitable to be used as an air ambulance or for medical transportation is the GULFSTREAM G700™. The GULFSTREAM G700™ delivers the most spacious, innovative, and flexible cabin in the industry, plus all-new, high-thrust Rolls-Royce engines and the award-winning Symmetry Flight Deck™.
All-new seats from handcrafted collection convert into ergonomic beds. Seats are optimally positioned beside our iconic windows and near tactile cabin controls. The aircraft flew non-stop for 13 hours and 16 minutes at an average speed of Mach 0.88, or 1086.3 kph, to cover a distance of 6,711 nautical miles.
Interestingly, The GULFSTREAM G700™ will seat up to 19 passengers and features five living areas, a six-seat dining area (or conference room), a 10-foot galley, and a master bedroom suite with a shower. The advanced circadian lighting system fitted throughout recreates sunrise and sunset, to reduce jet lag.
The Cessna 172 Skyhawk
If you are looking for a reliable small plane to use for your medical transportation business, then you should consider The Cessna 172 Skyhawk. The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is an American four-seat, single-engine, high wing, fixed-wing aircraft made by the Cessna Aircraft Company. First flown in 1955, more 172s have been built than any other aircraft.
It was developed from the 1948 Cessna 170 but with tricycle landing gear rather than conventional landing gear. The Skyhawk name was originally used for a trim package but was later applied to all standard-production 172 aircraft, while some upgraded versions were marketed as the Cutlass.
Measured by its longevity and popularity, the Cessna 172 is the most successful aircraft in history. Cessna delivered the first production model in 1956, and as of 2015, the company and its partners had built more than 44,000 units. The aircraft remains in production today.
Please note that The Cessna 172 may be modified via a wide array of supplemental type certificates (STCs), including increased engine power and higher gross weights. Available STC engine modifications increase power from 180 to 210 hp (134 to 157 kW), add constant-speed propellers, or allow the use of automobile gasoline.
Other modifications include additional fuel tank capacity in the wingtips, added baggage compartment tanks, added wheel pants to reduce drag, or enhanced landing and takeoff performance and safety with a STOL kit. The 172 has also been equipped with the 180 hp (134 kW) fuel-injected Superior Air Parts Vantage engine.
The Beechcraft Musketeer
Another trusted small plane that can be used for medical transportation is The Beechcraft Musketeer. The Beechcraft Musketeer is a family of single-engine, low-wing, light aircraft that was produced by Beechcraft. The line includes the Model 19 Musketeer Sport, the Model 23 Musketeer, Custom and Sundowner, the Model 23-24 Musketeer Super III the retractable gear Model 24-R Sierra and the military CT-134 Musketeer.
The Musketeer line was in production from model years 1963 to 1983, during which time a total of 4,366 were produced. The type certificate for the Musketeer family of aircraft has been owned by Hawker Beechcraft since March 26, 2007.
The first of the line was the Model 23. It was introduced under the “Musketeer” name as a 1963 model at an initial price of $13,300 and was powered by a Lycoming O-320-D2B engine of 160 bhp (120 kW). The next year this engine was replaced by the Continental IO-346-A engine of 165 bhp (123 kW).
This engine was not a success and was in turn replaced by the Lycoming O-360-A4J engine of 180 bhp (130 kW) starting with the B23 Musketeer Custom of 1968. In 1970 the C23 version was introduced also under the name “Musketeer Custom”. In 1972 the C23 was renamed the “Sundowner”. When properly equipped, the B23 and C23 are approved for limited aerobatics.
The Grumman American AA-5
The Grumman American AA-5 is another suitable small plane that can be used for medical transportation. The Grumman American AA-5 series is a family of American all-metal, four-seat, light aircraft used for touring and training.
The line includes the original American Aviation AA-5 Traveler, the Grumman American AA-5 Traveler, AA-5A Cheetah, AA-5B Tiger, the Gulfstream American AA-5A Cheetah, and AA-5B Tiger, the American General AG-5B Tiger, and the Tiger Aircraft AG-5B Tiger.
The new four-place aircraft, named the American Aviation AA-5 Traveler, was powered by a Lycoming O-320-E2G engine of 150 hp (110 kW). It would carry four people at 121 knots (224 km/h) cruise speed and was certified under US FAR Part 23. All models of the AA-5 have four seats under a sliding canopy, which can be partly opened in flight for ventilation.
Entry for all four occupants is from the wing root over the canopy sill. Compared to competitive aircraft of the same era the AA-5s are noted for their light and pleasant handling characteristics as well as high cruising speed for the installed power. In 2019 Garmin received a Supplemental Type Certificate for a full G3X Touch glass cockpit installation for the aircraft.
The Diamond DA40 Diamond Star
Another suitable plan that can be used as an air ambulance if you run a medical transportation business is The Diamond DA40 Diamond Star. The Diamond DA40 Diamond Star is an Austrian four-seat, single-engine, light aircraft constructed from composite materials.
Built-in both Austria and Canada, it was developed as a four-seat version of the earlier DA20 by Diamond Aircraft Industries. By the end of December 2020, 2,200 DA40s had been delivered, including 500 NG models. Based on the success of the earlier DV20/DA20 two-seat aircraft, the company designed a four-seat variant, the DA40 Diamond Star.
The Rotax 914-powered prototype DA40-V1 registered OE-VPC, first flew on 5 November 1997 and was followed by a second prototype DA40-V2 (registered OE-VPE) which was powered by a Continental IO-240. In 1998 a third prototype DA40-V3 flew powered by a Lycoming IO-360 engine.
Four more test aircraft were produced followed by the first production aircraft in 2000. JAR23 certification of the IO-360 production variant was obtained in October 2000. In 2002 the production of the Lycoming-engined variant was moved to Canada and the Austrian factory concentrated on diesel-engined variants. The first flight of the Diesel DA40D was made on 28 November 2002.
The Cirrus SR20
The Cirrus SR20 is yet another suitable small plane that can be used as an air ambulance by medical transportation business. The Cirrus SR20 is an American piston-engined, four- or five-seat composite monoplane that was built in 1999 by Cirrus Aircraft of Duluth, Minnesota. The aircraft is the company’s earliest type-certified model, earning certification in 1998. The SR20 is popular with many flying schools and is operated by private individuals and companies.
Interestingly, The Cirrus SR20 was the first production general aviation (GA) aircraft equipped with a parachute to lower the airplane safely to the ground after a loss of control, structural failure, or mid-air collision. The SR series was also the first mass-manufactured light aircraft with all-composite construction and flat-panel avionics.
The SR20 was developed into the Cirrus SR22, which was introduced in 2001 and is the most-produced GA aircraft of the 21st century. The SR-series remains the only airplane in its class to include side-stick flight controls that combine aspects of a traditional yoke handle (this has been referred to in the industry as a “side yoke”)
The Piper PA-28 Cherokee
Another small plane that can be used for medical transportation is the Piper PA-28 Cherokee. The Piper PA-28 Cherokee is a family of two-seat or four-seat light aircraft built by Piper Aircraft and designed for flight training, air taxi, and personal use.
The PA-28 family of aircraft comprises all-metal, unpressurized, single-engined, piston-powered airplanes with low-mounted wings and tricycle landing gear. They have a single door on the right side, which is entered by stepping on the wing.
The first PA-28 received its type certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration in 1960 and the series remains in production to this day. Current models are the Warrior, Arrow, Archer TX and LX, and the Pilot 100 and i100. The Archer was discontinued in 2009, but with investment from new company ownership, the model was put back into production in 2010.
The Wassmer WA-51 Pacific
The Wassmer WA-51 Pacific is yet another suitable small plane that can be used as an air ambulance by medical transportation companies. The Wassmer WA-51 Pacific is a French four-seat cabin monoplane designed and built by Société Wassmer. Different-powered variants include the Wassmer WA-52 Europa and the Wassmer WA-54 Atlantic. It was the world’s first composite material-built aircraft.
Having manufactured glass-fiber cowlings for Bébé, D112, and D120 Jodels, an increasing number of glass-fiber parts for their Javelot, Bijave, and Super-Javelot gliders, and then Super-IV aircraft, in 1966 Wassmer first flew the glass-fiber WA-50 prototype, a single-engined four-seat cabin monoplane with a retractable tricycle landing gear.
Originally designed as a three-seater powered by a 115cv Potez engine, engine unavailability at the time resulted in a 150cv Lycoming O-320 being used instead and the aircraft becoming a 4-seater. Using the same profile as the Super-IV but only 8.6m spans, and compensated with large slotted flaps, the wings were formed from two molded halves and contained two 70-liter fuel tanks. The fuselage was also manufactured as two halves and featured butterfly doors.
The SIAI-Marchetti S.205
Lastly, The SIAI-Marchetti S.205 is yet another highly suitable small plane that can be used for a medical transportation business. The SIAI-Marchetti S.205 is an Italian four-seat, single-engine, light airplane, manufactured by SIAI-Marchetti. The S.205 made its maiden flight in 1965. The Italian Air Force employs a version called S.208.
The S.205 was the brainchild of the SIAI-Marchetti head designer Alexander Brena in 1964. Brena wanted to make a light, general-purpose aircraft, which led to the S.205. The aircraft was all-metal, low-winged, single-engined, and provided space for four persons. Further development led to the S.208, which had a 260 hp engine, retractable landing gear, and 5 seats.