An air ambulance is an aircraft used for emergency medical services. An air ambulance may be used in circumstances where either a traditional ambulance cannot reach the scene easily or quickly enough, or if the patient needs to be transported over a distance that makes air transportation the most practical and efficient mode of transport. It is an aircraft configured, staffed and equipped to respond, care for, and transport a patient(s). Such ambulances are approved or licensed by a state to do so.
Common equipments that are used in air ambulances are: ventilators, medication, an ECG and monitoring unit, CPR equipment, and stretchers. An air ambulance is sometimes referred to as a medical evacuation or medevac.
The following is an example of a state law (North Carolina) defining the term:
Pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 131E-176, "Air ambulance" means “aircraft used to provide air transport of sick or injured persons between destinations within the State.”