what is a medivac

Guide to Medivac Flight and Medical Evacuation on the Kokoda Track


Trekking the historic Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea is a challenging and rewarding adventure. While the journey is filled with breathtaking landscapes and rich history, it’s essential to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances, especially when it comes to medical emergencies. This comprehensive guide will provide prospective trekkers with valuable insights into medivacs on the Kokoda Trail, ensuring a safer and more informed hiking experience.

Understanding Medivac: The Basics

Definition of Medivac

Before embarking on the Kokoda Track, it’s crucial to understand the meaning of “medivac.” The term is a shortened form of “medical evacuation,” referring to the timely and efficient movement of injured persons from the scene of an accident or a remote area to a place where they can receive necessary medical care.

Medivac vs. Medevac: Spelling Matters

The terms “medivac” and “medevac” are often used interchangeably, but it’s essential to note the correct spelling. Both expressions refer to the same concept: the evacuation of persons requiring medical care, but the spelling of “medivac” is more commonly used.

Modes of Transportation: Helicopters and Fixed-Wing Aircraft

Helicopter Services

In the rugged terrain of the Kokoda Track, helicopters play a crucial role in providing medical evacuation services. Helicopter services offer the flexibility needed for urgent care in remote areas. These aircraft are equipped with medical personnel and necessary medical equipment to ensure the well-being of the patient during transportation.

Fixed-Wing Aircraft

Apart from helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft are also used for medivacs on the Kokoda Trail. These aircraft provide efficient movement and en route care for patients. Depending on the distance and urgency of the situation, trek organizers may opt for fixed-wing aircraft to transport patients to the nearest medical facility.

Medivac Logistics: Coordinators and Arrangements

Flight Coordinators

Organizing a medivac requires meticulous planning and coordination. Trek organizers have access to flight coordinators who specialize in arranging medivac flights. These professionals ensure that the evacuation process is timely, and all necessary arrangements are in place for the safety and well-being of the patient.

Cost Considerations

While the primary concern during a medical emergency is the well-being of the individual, it’s essential to be aware of the associated costs. Medivac services, including both helicopter and fixed-wing flights, incur expenses. Prospective trekkers should inquire about the cost of medivac services and ensure they have appropriate travel insurance covering such emergencies.

Medical Personnel and Equipment on Board

Equipped with Medical Personnel

Medivac aircraft, whether helicopters or fixed-wing planes, are equipped with trained medical personnel. These professionals are experienced in providing medical care during transportation and ensuring that the patient arrives at their destination in the best possible condition.

Medical Equipment on Board

In addition to skilled medical personnel, medivac aircraft are equipped with advanced medical equipment. This includes life-saving devices and supplies necessary to stabilize and support patients during evacuation.

Coordinated Efforts: Ground Ambulance and Local Hospitals

Ground Ambulance Services

Once the medivac aircraft transports the patient to a suitable location, ground ambulance services come into play. These services ensure the seamless transfer of the patient from the landing site to a local hospital or another medical facility where they can receive further medical attention.

Local Hospitals and Medical Facilities

The Kokoda Track does not pass through regions that have local hospitals or medical facilities. So trek organizers and medivac coordinators work together to choose the most appropriate destination based on the nature of the medical emergency.


Trekking the Kokoda Track is an adventure that comes with its own set of challenges. Being well-informed about medivac options and understanding the logistics involved can make a significant difference in ensuring the safety and well-being of trekkers. By familiarizing yourself with the comprehensive guide to medivacs on the Kokoda Trail, you can embark on this historical journey with confidence, knowing that there are reliable medical evacuation services in place should the need arise.


Q: What is a medevac flight?

A: A medevac flight, short for medical evacuation flight, is an air transportation service used to move patients who need to receive medical care to healthcare facilities, often using air ambulances or specially equipped aircraft.

Q: Why are medevac flights important?

A: Medevac flights are crucial for the timely and safe transportation of injured patients or those in need of urgent medical care from remote or difficult-to-access locations to hospitals or medical facilities with advanced care capabilities.

Q: What is the significance of medevac missions on the Kokoda Trail?

A: Medevac missions on the Kokoda Trail play a vital role in providing medical transport for trekkers or locals who may require urgent medical attention in a challenging and remote terrain.

Q: Are there specific aircraft used for medevac flights?

A: Yes, medevac flights may be conducted using dedicated air ambulance aircraft or other specialized aircraft equipped to accommodate medical needs and provide timely and efficient medical transportation.

Q: How can medevac flights be arranged?

A: Medevac flights can be arranged through flight coordinators or specialized services that offer medevac missions, ensuring that patients in need can receive swift and appropriate medical transport.

Q: What are the key terms associated with medevac flights?

A: Some key terms associated with medevac flights include air ambulance, medical flight, medevac services, aeromedical, medical transportation, and the availability of medevac flights.

Q: Is the spelling of “medevac” different from “medivac”?

A: The correct spelling is “medevac,” which is the abbreviated form of medical evacuation, and it is essential to use the accurate terminology when referring to this critical aspect of medical transport.

Q: Can much information be found about medevac flights in the Collins English Dictionary?

A: Yes, the Collins English Dictionary provides detailed information about the term medevac, along with its definition and usage in the context of medical evacuation and air transportation.

Q: Are medevac flights available for emergency situations?

A: Yes, medevac flights are available for emergency situations, offering a rapid and reliable means of transporting patients in need of urgent medical care to appropriate medical facilities for treatment.

Q: How much awareness is there regarding medevac flights and their importance?

A: There is growing awareness regarding the significance of medevac flights in facilitating swift and efficient medical evacuation, especially in remote or challenging environments where access to medical services may be limited.

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