Happy 5th birthday, Air Bear!


How many other 5 year olds can boast they’ve helped save the lives of thousands of children?

Since joining our transport team in November 2008, Air Bear, Akron Children’s pediatric medical transport helicopter, has managed to make a huge impact in the region.


According to nurse manager Kendra Paxton, Air Bear’s addition to our transportation fleet helped meet a critical need in the community, illustrated by the 2,489 patient flights she’s made to date.

“Air Bear has been a great resource in the community, allowing our team to get out in the region and bring patients to the bedside more rapidly,” said Paxton. “Time makes a difference in outcomes, and with pediatric patients it’s essential to get the critical care team to the patient as quickly as possible. Adding Air Bear to our team has been especially important in helping us treat premature babies and patients experiencing respiratory distress, sepsis, cardiac issues and trauma.”


Air Bear is so nimble and quick, she can turn an hour drive into a 20-minute flight.

Based at our hospital campus in Akron, her top 5 destinations include our Beeghly campus in Boardman, Trumbull Memorial  Hospital in Warren, St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, St. Joseph’s Health Center  in Warren, Union Hospital in Dover, and MedCentral Health System in Mansfield.

Air Bear also is active in community outreach. Beyond the many children in the region who have actually flown on Air Bear for treatment, many others have met her at community events.


Air Bear spent 25 flight hours this year visiting schools, zoos, Boy Scouts and camps, as well as giving rides for auction at community fundraisers.


Air Bear’s team includes 4 pilots. And each Air Bear transport includes a nurse, a paramedic and a respiratory therapist. The goal is to leave one seat free for a parent to accompany a child on the trip to the hospital.

Air Bear is a collaborative partnership between MedTrans  Corp. of Dallas, which owns and operates the helicopter, and Akron Children’s, which  provides the pediatric medical expertise.

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