For victims of traumatic injury, the time it takes to receive emergency treatment can mean the difference between life and death. For those whose illness requires immediate transport to a major medical facility, receiving a high-level of care en route may also prove critical. CALSTAR exists to fill the need for rapid transport of patients that frequently can only be provided by an air ambulance.

CALSTAR was the first stand-alone nonprofit air ambulance provider in the U.S. to be supported by a consortium of corporations and hospitals. CALSTAR's organizational model was developed to avoid the cost inefficiencies inherent in many hospital based air ambulance programs. With bases located throughout the state, CALSTAR offers air medical services from Ukiah to Santa Barbara and from the San Francisco Bay Area to Northern Nevada. Our service covers vast areas of wilderness and population-dense urban communities with the same level of commitment and responsiveness.

Since CALSTAR commenced flight operations in September of 1984, it has provided emergency transportation for more than 50,000 critically injured or ill patients to hospitals throughout California and Northern Nevada. Today, approximately 75% of these flights are in support of regional 911 emergency services networks. Safety has always been CALSTAR's first core value and remains the organization's highest priority. To date, CALSTAR has flown over 70,000 accident-free flight hours.


CALSTAR's flight crews respond from full-time rotor wing bases in Auburn, Concord, Gilroy, Salinas, Santa Maria, South Lake Tahoe, Ukiah and Vacaville. McClellan Park in Sacramento is home to CALSTAR's headquarters and communications center (CALCOM), as well as our dedicated inter-facility fixed wing program.

A pilot and two flight nurses make up CALSTAR's flight crews. Pilots have a minimum of 3,000 hours of pilot-in-command flight time. Flight nurses have three to five years of intensive care unit or emergency room experience and many come to CALSTAR with pre-hospital care experience. All flight nurses undergo an intensive course (didactic & clinical) in aeromedical transport, pediatrics, basic trauma life support and pre-hospital care prior to commencing flight duties. Flight nurses are required to maintain certification as a Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN), Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).

CALSTAR's dedicated Inter-facility Transport Program uses fixed wing and rotor wing aircraft specifically configured for hospital-to-hospital transports of high acuity patients. Both aircraft types are customized to support pediatric and neonatal patient transports performed by hospital-based specialty teams. The program features specially trained CALSTAR flight nurses and a state-of-the-art isolette that provides temperature control and sophisticated ventilator support for critically ill infants.


While we hope you never need to fly with CALSTAR, we understand the financial ramifications of air ambulance transport. We work with our members' insurance providers (if they have coverage) to secure payment for our air medical services. Still, even insured patients may be left with many thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses.

CALSTAR offers an affordable solution through our Membership Program. For an annual fee of $45 per individual or $50 per family, a CALSTAR membership guarantees that you'll be covered for the cost of air medical services provided by CALSTAR or our reciprocal partner programs. For peace of mind, it is a cost-effective investment—especially for residents and frequent travelers of remote areas far from leading medical facilities. CALSTAR memberships are available to anyone, even if you are uninsured. For more detailed information, please visit us at www.calstar.org or call us toll-free at 1-888-207-LIFE (5433).