About Nightingale Regional Air Ambulance

Nightingale, a service of Sentara, has flown more than 18,000 accident-free missions since her maiden flight in 1982. Today, it is one of the signature services that sets Sentara Healthcare apart as the premier provider of hospital and health care services in this region. The nation’s 38th air medical program and the region's first air ambulance, Nightingale has transported thousands of critically ill patients to the helping hands of trained medical professionals all over Virginia. From her home base at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, the area’s only Level I Trauma Center, Nightingale flies a 125-mile radius handling trauma, cardiac, neurological, medical, pediatric and obstetric patients. From Washington, D.C. to Ocracoke Island, the Eastern Shore to Charlottesville, Nightingale flies more than 700 missions per year.

Nightingale provides rapid transport of the critically ill or injured, transporting patients from the scene of an accident, or from one medical facility to another. Nightingale operates as a community asset to EMS and multiple hospital systems, and is called into service when time is critical to the patient's survival and air transportation is the best method. She is often able to reach areas with limited access or assist communities where long transports would tie up limited EMS resources.

Service Area
Nightingale’s coverage area is a 125 nautical mile radius from its base at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.


Nightingale is typically requested for three types of flights:

  • Scene flights

    Scene flight requests comprise about half of Nightingale’s flights. They involve the treatment and transfer of patients directly from the scene of an incident or medical emergency. Scene operations are generally very quick, striving to reduce ground time to a minimum.

  • Interhospital

    The other half of Nightingale flights are interhospital requests which transfer patient from one medical facility to another and require direct physician-to-physician contact.

  • Mutual aid flights

    Mutual aid flight requests are relatively infrequent, comprising less than one percent of Nightingale’s total flight volume. Mutual aid requests usually involve illumination and/or search operations in the water or over land, and very rarely will involve the transport of equipment/personnel. Nightingale does not perform rescue operations, because the crew and aircraft are not equipped for this type of situation. The crew will assist in the search and help direct appropriate personnel and equipment to the area. Mutual aid missions are typically aborted when a patient transport is received.