Airlift Northwest to open new Eastern Washington base

The site will begin operation this summer with a specially configured Airbus H-135 helicopter that can operate in adverse weather conditions.

Media Contact: Susan Gregg -, 206.616.6730

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

The new 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.    

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 few such equipped emergency helicopters operating in Eastern Washington.

“The updated interior and avionics makes it an ideal aircraft for transporting critically ill or injured patients,” said Jeff Richey, executive director of Airlift Northwest. “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.”

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

“Airlift Northwest is the only air medical transport service in the region that has two units of blood and plasma at every base, which are proven to increase survival rates for trauma patients when transfused in flight,” said Dr. Richard Utarnachitt, medical director for Airlift Northwest.  In 2021, 228 patients received blood or blood products en route to emergency facilities.

All aviation services, pilots and mechanics are provided by Air Methods Corporation and Aero Air LLC.  Airlift Northwest is an entity of UW Medicine and is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems.

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