Our History

Mercy Flight has been a unique operation since its inception in 1981. As the pioneer air-medical service in New York State, Mercy Flight was one of the first operations of its kind in the country. From day one, Mercy Flight has been independent of any hospital, delivering patients to the facility that will best suit their medical needs by working closely with the regional network of hospitals, ground EMS, law enforcement, and fire authorities.

In 1981, Mercy Flight operations were conducted from one base in Buffalo, 12 hours/day, utilizing one leased helicopter staffed by three paramedics and two pilots.

In 1998, the Olean base was established and operations began at the newly constructed Louis Magnano Mercy Flight Heliport on the Olean General Hospital campus.

In 2006, the Batavia base was established and operations began at the Genesee County Airport.

In 2008, Mercy Flight moved into its first permanent home at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport following a renovation of the existing "Flying Tigers" building and the construction of a brand new hangar to serve as the flight operations center.

In 2011, Mercy Flight acquired its very first, new helicopter - a state-of-the-art Bell 429.  We also added a previously owned BK117 and began to transition away from our older BO105's.

Today, Mercy Flight operations are conducted from three bases (Buffalo, Olean and Batavia), 24 hours a day / 7 days a week.  The Mercy Flight Team consists of 26 paramedics, 27 nurses,13 pilots, 9 air medical communications specialists, 6 aircraft mechanics and an 11 member administrative, development, finance and facilities management team that provides the necessary support service for flight operations.

Over the past 30+ years, Mercy Flight has conducted more than 20,000 patient missions and thousands of Ground Crew Safety Training and Community Education sessions throughout its primary service area of Western New York, Northwest Pennsylvania and Southern Ontario.