Observer Program

Airlift Northwest offers a observer experience for command level staff, including physicians,  at EMS agencies and hospitals within Airlift Northwest's Puget Sound service area.  The goal of the program is to allow a two way forum for referral agency and Airlift staff to better understand the roles of Airlift and the referral agencies, as well as discuss  the challenges that are unique to our settings.  All observations are based out of Boeing Field and are limited to Monday, Thursday, and Friday starting at 07:00.  Scheduled shift lengths are limited to 8 hours, though applicants should be aware that flights can go well beyond that scheduled time.

Participants must be fit, agile, and able to exit the aircraft quickly without help.  You'll need to have a body mass index consistent with Airlift Northwest policy and weight, height, and waist limitations might restrict participation.  A busy day may offer little or no time for meals, drinks, or snacks.  You may also encounter turbulence, vibration, noise, and extremes of hot and cold.   If a you have a medical conditions that limits function in these conditions, please explain in the comments section of the application.   If you have cold or flu symptoms please contact the coordinator or the Communications Center as soon as possible to reschedule.   Airlift Northwest will not re-schedule "no-shows,” however every attempt  will be made to  reschedule in extenuating circumstances, provided you have contacted the coordinator before the  scheduled observation day.

Every attempt will be made to provide participants with a rich experience, but there is no guarantee that you'll fly.  Observers are not able to participate directly with  patient care, however you may be asked to carry equipment or assist with loading the patient,  at the discretion of the crew.  If patient condition requires, you may be required to stay at the referring site or base.  Absolutely every attempt will be made to return pick you up on the return leg, however,  because of situations such as additional flight requests,  weather, or maintenance,  this may not be feasible.  In that event, you will be responsible to make your  own arrangements for transport.  Airlift Northwest will help as much as possible.

Airlift has the right to refuse any rider based on certain situations that may include safety, fuel, weight, impending weather, or maintenance.   The on-duty flight crew will ultimately approve any observation opportunity, on a flight by flight basis, based on the operational restrictions for the day.  Airlift does not allow observers to fly from the field on a spontaneous basis.  All observers must be pre-screened for the specific day.  Participants are not allowed to photograph or record during patient transport legs.

  • On the day of your visit you will:
    • Be provided a flight suit and helmet to wear for the day
    • have your personal gear and clothing inspected
    • have a safety briefing
    • have a tour of the work facilities, kitchen areas,  and be provided a modest work space and internet access
  • You will need to bring:
    • your own meals
    • a bit of money or credit card for personal items
    • work or entertainment for "down time"
    • Clothing, including:
      • departmental uniform with ID
      • leather work or hiking boots (preferably black)
      • cotton or wool undergarments--no synthetics
      • jacket, hat, and gloves that are professional in appearance and appropriate for the weather conditions and forecast for the area. 
    • Avoid strong colognes or perfumes, and minimize large or "dangly" jewelry
  • Remember flights may go well beyond a scheduled shift end.

If you are interested in exploring this opportunity, please complete an Participant Data Sheet and fax or mail it to the Observer Program Coordinator, Brenda Nelson

Brenda Nelson, Chief Flight Nurse
6505 Perimeter Road South, Suite 200
Seattle, WA 98108

Office Phone: 206 965-1918

Business Phone: (206) 521-1599
Business Fax: (206) 521-1612

Airlift Northwest Communications Center: (206) 1 800-426-2430