Duke Life Flight is Duke’s critical care transport program, providing emergency air and ground transport to all of North Carolina, as well as portions of South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee.
North Carolina’s first hospital-based helicopter service, Life Flight has been transporting critically ill or injured adults, children, and neonatal patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, since 1985.
Life Flight staff are dedicated to quickly getting patients to the appropriate medical facilities when time and/or specialized skills or resources are vital to their outcomes.
Life Flight’s two critical care helicopters serve a 200-air mile radius.
Ground transport vehicles -- which each serve a 120-mile radius -- originate from Duke University Hospital and three satellite locations:
In addition to transporting patients, Life Flight personnel also conduct emergency and critical care education programs, and support related research initiatives.
Aviation expertise is contracted to Life Flight through CJ Systems Aviation Group. The CJ team consists of an aviation site manager, six pilots, and three mechanics. Site manager Tim Sukow can be reached at 919-681-1228.
Duke requires Life Flight pilots to have a minimum of 2,000 hours of flight experience, instrument flight rating, and to be qualified to operate all Duke-based aircraft. Each pilot receives annual ongoing training.
Life Flight mechanics have more than 80 years of combined experience working with helicopters, and are licensed and certified by the FAA. Maintenance personnel have been factory trained by American Eurocopter specifically for the AS 365 N2 Dauphin and AS 355 F2 Twinstar helicopters. They receive ongoing training and updates about Life Flight aircraft.
Life Flight EMTs safely transport ground patients to and from their destinations, assist nurses with the patient packaging, loading, and unloading, and perform safety checks on ground ambulances. During bad weather, they also transport critical patients who need specialized medical equipment and medical personnel that cannot travel by aircraft.
The majority of Life Flight emergency medical technicians paramedic-level EMTs, and most are experienced fire or emergency medical personnel.
Life Flight's highly trained and experienced critical care transport nurses undergo a rigorous competency-based orientation specific to the transport arena. While all transport nurses are trained to care for patients older than 31 days, several are also trained neonatal specialists who are qualified to provide critical care services to newborns.
The Duke Life Flight communication team is comprised of seven NAACS-certified communicators, who handle some 6,000 transport requests annually for Duke Medicine. Communicators monitor the positions of aircraft and ground vehicles, stay abreast of weather conditions, and plot scene positions.
Hundreds of emergency medicine physicians and specialists from many disciplines care for Life Flight patients who arrive at Duke University Hospital through the Emergency Medicine and Trauma Center. The director of Life Flight is Gregory S. Georgiade.
To learn more about Duke Life Flight, call 800-362-5433 toll-free.
This service is available at: