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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.

Organizational Model

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.

Corporate Structure

California Shock Trauma Air Rescue (dba CALSTAR) is a nonprofit public benefit corporation founded in 1983. Initial funding was provided by the McKesson Corporation and other Bay Area organizations. Ongoing operational support is provided by CALSTAR's member hospitals as well as other corporate, foundation and individual contributors.


Since CALSTAR commenced flight operations in September of 1984, it has provided emergency transportation for over 40,000 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. Approximately 50% of CALSTAR's flights have been transports of children. Safety has always been CALSTAR's first core value and remains the organization's highest priority. To date, CALSTAR has flown over 60,000 accident-free flight hours.

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