About the Helicopter Service


The Air Medical Service mission reflects the collective ideals of the program’s partners: To save and improve lives, to provide rapid access to definitive health care, and to make a difference in the lives we touch. We are dedicated to the care of the critically ill and injured of all ages, and strive to be an industry leader providing superior patient care and safety in the air transport environment. Patients are not discriminated against due to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or ability to pay.

In 2019, MU Health Care rebranded the flight program Air Medical Service. After operating as the Staff for Life Helicopter Service since 1982, a new partnership was established with two industry leaders in air medical transport. Med-Trans Corporation and Air Evac EMS, Inc. partnered with MU Health Care to provide air medical care from four bases in mid-Missouri: Kirksville, Osage Beach, Sedalia, and Moberly. See more about the bases below.

Medical control is provided by MU Health Care. Dr. Jeffrey Coughenour MD, medical director of the Frank L. Mitchell Jr, MD Trauma Center, and a board-certified trauma/critical care surgeon, serves as the program medical director. Our air medical crew members perform at the highest standards of safety, medical care, and professionalism. Advanced-level certification is required of all crew members. Affiliation with the University of Missouri Health Care provides team members access to the resources of an academic medical center; including continuing education from emergency physicians, surgeons, cardiologists, and neurologists. The Children’s Hospital Critical Care Transport Service (CHCCTS) provides care and transport of neonatal and pediatric medical patients. Med-Trans Corporation and Air Evac EMS, Inc. provide aviation, maintenance and billing services. As FAA Part 135 certificate holders, they maintain operational control of the program.



The Moberly base, designated MU 1, has been in continuous operation since 1982 based in Columbia, relocating to Moberly in July 2020, and sports the unique and easily recognized MU Health paint scheme. This Airbus H135P3+ is a state-of-the-art twin engine aircraft. In addition to scene and inter-hospital flights, this helicopter is also the primary aircraft for specialty transport flights (CHCCTS pediatric medical and neonatal transports, and balloon pump patients). It features an additional seat to accommodate staff in orientation as well as MU Emergency Medicine resident physicians and ride-along participants. This aircraft is certified to perform Instrument Flight Rule (IFR) flights.

Osage Beach

The Osage Beach-based team, MU 2, provides medical care and transport in a Bell 407GX single-engine aircraft. The primary service area is the Lake of the Ozarks region, saving patients significant time by easily traversing the lake and its winding roads. An aircraft has been permanently based in Osage Beach since 1985; the partnership is celebrated by incorporating the Lake Regional Health System logo with the black and gold paint. Patients are primarily transported to Columbia, Osage Beach and Springfield.


The Sedalia-based team provides medical care and transport in a Bell 407 single-engine aircraft. Established in 2005, this Air Evac base merged with MU Health Care in 2019 to become part of the MU Air Medical Service team. Designated MU 3, they serve cities such as Sedalia, Marshall, and mainly rural areas of Pettis and surrounding counties. Patients are usually transported to facilities in Columbia or the Kansas City metro area.


MU 4 serves primarily the rural communities of north Missouri and southern Iowa. Established in 2004, this Air Evac base also merged with MU Health Care in September 2020 to become the fourth MU Air Medical Service base. Based in Kirksville, patients are primarily transported to tertiary care centers in Columbia. This team also provides care and transport in a Bell 407 aircraft. From the ground, MU 3 and MU 4 will appear identical in the MU Health paint scheme – black and gold with the University’s “spirit tiger” at the rear of the fuselage.