Patients are flown by fixed wing for many different reasons. These can range from the stable patient involved in an accident, or with a long-term medical condition, wishing to relocate closer to family for rehabilitative care, to the critical heart failure patient requiring intensive care transfer to receive a transplant. The fixed wing environment differs from the rotor wing environment primarily in that fixed wing travels farther, faster and higher. The fixed wing is primarily a facility-to-facility transport, typically long distance in nature.
Secondly, there are typically more choices of different types of aircraft, and selections that are less expensive per mile and/or per hour to operate. With licensure and accreditation standards available and easily verifiable, the care provided in the fixed wing environment is the same as the helicopter. The fixed wing is typically not in competition with the rotor wing in that the rotor wing service typically is for moving a patient from a scene to a primary care facility, or a tertiary care facility to a primary care facility.