WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Novant Health's first critical care transport helicopter took to the skies on Tuesday.

Novant Health says its new helicopter will help increase care to patients who live in rural areas.

The chopper is based at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center in Salisbury, and will fly within a 150-mile radius, including Charlotte and Winston-Salem.

Novant Health expects the helicopter to help 300-400 people in its first year. The helicopter joins the existing fleet of 13 Novant Health ambulances.