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History of the PennSTAR Program

In 1986, the University of Pennsylvania Health System recognized the need for a safe and rapid means of transporting medical patients to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Led by internationally prominent trauma surgeon C. William Schwab, MD, the PennSTAR flight program was formed with the start of PennSTAR 1 and began patient flights in the summer of 1988.

In 2013, the PennSTAR Flight Program celebrated its 25 year anniversary.

  • PennSTAR 2 was added as a second helicopter to PennSTAR 1 in 1996 and is based at Atlantic City Airport in New Jersey.
  • PennSTAR 3 began operations in 1999, serving the Lehigh Valley, PA.
  • PennSTAR 4 was added in 2005 and serves Berks, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery and Schuylkill counties in PA from Reading Hospital.
  • PennSTAR 5 began operations in 2006 and is based in Carbon County, PA.
  • PennSTAR 6 was also added in 2006 and operates out of Wings Airport in Montgomery County, PA.
  • PennSTAR Ground (SCT and ALS) was added in 2011 and operates its Interfacility transport ambulance out of Wings Airport in Montgomery County, PA.

PennSTAR proudly and safely serves the people of Eastern PA, NJ & DE tri-state.

PennSTAR Flight Network

The PennSTAR Flight Network was established in 1999 and is currently comprised of:

  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
    Philadelphia (Level I Center)
  • Penn Presbyterian Medical Center
  • Pennsylvania Hospital
  • Chester County Hospital
  • St. Luke's Hospital
    Bethlehem (Level I Center)
  • Reading Hospital and Medical Center
    West Reading (Level II Center)
  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
    (Level I Center)
  • Lancaster General Hospital
    (Level II Center)


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