Airlift Northwest to open new Eastern Washington base

Airlift Northwest, the not-for-profit air medical transport service of UW Medicine, recently opened a new helicopter base at Davenport Municipal Airport in Davenport to serve Central and Eastern Washington.

The base will begin operations this summer with a specially configured Airbus H-135 helicopter. It has a range of 340 miles, a cruising speed of 156 mph and the ability to operate in adverse weather conditions.   

Davenport is more than 100 miles north of Pasco and west of Spokane. An Airlift Northwest map shows the Tri-Cities is within a 60-minute flight from the base.

The aircraft can hold patients who weigh up to 350 pounds and has instrument flight rules (IFR) capability, which allows pilots to fly in challenging weather conditions. It is one of only a few such equipped emergency helicopters operating in Eastern Washington.

“The updated interior and avionics make it an ideal aircraft for transporting critically ill or injured patients,” said Jeff Richey, executive director of Airlift Northwest, in a news release. “It is a flying ICU, that can quickly and safely get patients where they need to go for comprehensive care while also caring for them in flight.”

In September 2021, Airlift Northwest opened a new base in Pasco with a Swiss-engineered Pilatus PC-12 turboprop airplane. With a range of 1,000 miles and a cruising speed of 328 MPH, the airplane can transport patients to receive critical care during emergency or hospital transfers.

Airlift Northwest operates 24 hours a day, every day. Each flight is conducted with two flight nurses certified to provide the highest level of critical care.

The air medical transport service also has two units of blood and plasma at every base to treat trauma patients.

In 2021,  228 patients received blood or blood products en route to emergency facilities.

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