Survival Flight

Critical Care Training at 2,000 Feet

Survival Flight is one of the best aeromedical groups in the country. Safety is the cornerstone of the program. Our residents can become physician members of the flight team starting in the second year of the program. You will share your expertise as a clinician while also learning from experienced flight nurses and paramedics who have a passion for what they do.

In the Survival Flight rotation, you will:

Survival Flight pilot wearing a block-M helmet
  • Transport critically ill and/or injured patients with an experienced and specially trained team of flight medical personnel and pilots.
  • Practice medical care in a resource-limited environment.
  • Become proficient in all safety protocols.
  • Interface with different health care systems and providers.
  • Receive a flight suit of your own.

Residents with a strong interest in pre-hospital care may choose to pursue more advanced training through the EMS Professional Track.

Although participation in this program is considered a valuable educational experience, flying is not required.

Survival Flight Facts

Survival Flight helicopters landing in field
  • Original flight service in Michigan since 1983.
  • On call 24/7.
  • Flown nearly 8 million miles in its 30-plus year history.
  • Completed more than 57,000 safe patient transports to date.
  • Travels all over the country to transport patients and organs between care facilities.
  • Survival Flight fleet includes three identical Eurocopter 155 helicopters and a Citation Encore jet.
  • Each Survival Flight is stocked with a full complement of sophisticated life support equipment, including ventricular assist devices, Extracorporeal Life Support and neonatal isolettes.
  • Survival Flight team includes:
    • 24 registered nurses
    • 10 communication specialists
    • 7 full-time mechanics (with two on call 24 hours a day)
    • 9 helicopter pilots
    • 8 fixed-wing pilots

“Survival Flight is not just bringing patients back to the University of Michigan — we are actually taking the University of Michigan to the patient's bedside. Whether at the side of a highway or in a rural hospital, Survival Flight strives to safely bring the resources and expertise of Michigan Medicine to the patient.” — Graham Smith, M.D., Class of 2017