The Life Net 7-1 Albany Medical Center base became operational in February of 1996. The base was the second Life Net base to be started in the country (the first was in Redding, CA). Originally started under the name Albany Med FLIGHT, the base was started as a hybrid-community based system utilizing a BK-117 helicopter.
The medical team was employed by the Emergency Department of Albany Medical Center and the aviation assets were provided by Rocky Mountain Helicopters under their newly formed Life Net system. The program went on to become the first program in New York State to achieve accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS).
In 2000, Albany Medical Center turned the entire program operation over to Life Net and all medical staff was then employed by Life Net. The program maintains a strategic partnership with Albany Medical Center and works cooperatively with the hospital’s PICU and NICU transport teams in order to provide air transport for those specialized patient populations. The flight team is based in offices on the 8th floor of the hospital’s “D” building, just one floor below the roof-top helipad where the aircraft awaits its mission requests. Additional offices located on the Albany Medical Center campus have served as the administrative offices for the Life Net of New York program.
In 2005, the base retired its BK-117 helicopter along with the Albany Med FLIGHT name. The base received a new state-of-the-art EC-135 helicopter which boasts a glass cockpit, onboard weather radar, auto-pilot, air traffic avoidance system, and wire-strike hardware. In 2008, the base became the first Life Net of NY base to transition to the use of Night Vision Goggle technology to further improve safety margins.