CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — Friday marked a special day for an aircraft that's vital in saving lives.
Mercy Flight held a birthday celebration - complete with a cake - for its youngest helicopter, Bell 429.
The chopper turned a year old Friday, and the public was invited to the party at the Flying Tigers headquarters to learn about the agency.
Through a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and donations, the non-profit agency was able to buy the aircraft brand new - a first for them.
Mercy Flight says in the last year alone, the Bell aircraft has taken 369 flights, and its sophistication makes the job easier.
"It's much faster, (travels) further distance, and again, when you have a brand new aircraft, you don't have the down time, because you don't have the repairs," said Mercy Flight Founder and President Doug Baker.
Mercy Flight has four choppers in total, including ones in Buffalo, Batavia and Olean.