After a 14-year absence from local skies, SouthFlight is returning to Mobile.
The University of South Alabama Health System is bringing back the distinctive red helicopter through a collaborative re-branding and partnership with Air Methods, USA Medical Center Administrator Sam Dean said during a launch celebration Wednesday morning.
The service, which is still operated by Air Methods, simulated caring for a stroke victim in Fairhope who was flow in via helicopter to the medical center in Mobile. At the event, the newly painted chopper was christened by Mayor Sandy Stimpson and USA President Tony Waldrop.
During the event, Stimpson joked that he’d have “no problem” getting the Mobile City Council to commit $10 million to the helicopter service, referencing the ongoing debate over a deal he hopes to strike with USA to help fund their on-campus stadium.
Dean said USA started SouthFlight in 1986 and it ran through 2004, when Air Methods took over the service. Air Methods will still own the SouthFlight branded helicopter, but the rebranding effort will put the familiar aircraft back in service for coastal Alabama.