Duke Life Flight offers a ride along option for interested students, physicians, nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, pre-hospital providers, police or firefighters. Please review requirements and expectations for the program below.

We attempt to honor every request for our ride-a-long program, but unfortunately, due to high volume are sometimes unable to do so. If you would like to request a ride-a-long we require a minimum of 7 days notice, and the following information:

  • Date Requested
  • Name, Age, & Weight of Participant


  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • If you are a student, you must have completed at least 50% of your course of study.  
  • Weight cannot exceed 200 lbs (90kg) to fly. We also offer ride-a-long shifts with our ground units.

What you can expect:

  • When you arrive at our office you will be introduced to one of the duty crews.
  • You’ll be involved in the shift brief with the pilot and critical care providers that compose the crew.
  • Following shift brief, a helmet will be fitted and you will receive your helicopter safety instruction.
  • Your experience may also include transports by ground depending on the requests received during your shift.

What’s expected of you

  • Be on time for your shift; if you are unable to attend the shift brief you will be ineligible to fly.
  • You must bring a valid drivers license, which will be copied and kept for our records.
  • You must call our Operations Center at 800-362-5433 the morning of your shift to ensure there are no issues that would preclude your ride-a-long. 
  • In the event you will be late, you are expected to call our Operations Center to inform the crew.
  • Bring proof of licensure or if you are a student, transcripts or proof of enrollment.

Ride-a-long days

  • Our ride-a-longs may be scheduled any day of the week.  
  • Only day shifts (0700 – 1900 Durham Base) or (0800-2000 Smithfield Base) are offered. 
  • To maximize your experience, shifts are 12 hours, if you can not dedicate that amount of time please do not sign up for a shift. 
  • Ride-a-longs are not strickly limited to the aircraft, on poor weather days the ground units will be utilized.


  • Fill out the application at the bottom of this page after reviewing all information; incomplete applications will not be processed.
  • Due to the demand for spots, scheduling is often done a month or more ahead of the current date and preference given to local providers.  
  • Ride a long candidates will not be rescheduled more than one time, please do not choose a date unless you are sure you can make it.
  • Canceling your ride-a-long day for any reason will result in you being moved to the bottom of the scheduling queue.
  • If you cannot attend your day please call our operations center to inform them and email dukelifeflight@dm.duke.edu, no call-no shows will not be rescheduled. 
  • Only one ride-a-long opportunity per rolling calendar year with a maximum of two ride-a-longs in a five year period.

Proper Attire

  • Pre-hospital providers: what is appropriate for your work area or polo and cargo pants.
  • Hospital staff:  scrubs or professional attire – no clogs/Danskos.
  • Consider the weather conditions and dress appropriately.
  • Failure to wear the proper attire will result in the cancellation of your shift.


  • Ride-a-longs are scheduled on the day shift aircraft. They can be scheduled at the Durham base or the Smithfield base. 
  • The Durham base is located in Duke University Hospital, at 2301 Erwin Rd, Durham, NC 27705. The Life Flight office in located on the zero level (basement) in room 0652. To access the zero level use the patient elevators behind the main lobby elevators, walk straight down the hall to the end, take a left then a quick right.  The door is locked, please use the call button to request entry.
  • The Smithfield base in located at Johnston Regional Airport at 3223 Swift Creek Rd, Smithfield, NC 27577. The Life Flight hangar has an entrance to the right with blue awning as you walk up the concrete stairs between the two hangars. You will most likely see Duke Life Flight ambulances parked directly in front of the Life Flight hangar. 


  • Durham base ride-a-longs: Parking is available in the deck adjacent to the hospital; the entrance is located on Elba St.  You are responsible for parking fees.
  • Smithfield base ride-a-longs: Park in lot in front of hangar. No fees or parking passes are required. 


  • You may bring a camera to take pictures during your ride-a-long.
  • Food is available for purchase in the cafeteria (Durham base) or you may bring your lunch. You will need to pack a lunch if flying at the Smithfield base.
  • Bring something to entertain yourself.

For questions not answered by the above information, please contact the Duke Life Flight office at 1-(800)-362-5433 or via email at dukelifeflight@dm.duke.edu. Participants will be required to sign a waiver of liability form prior to participating in the ride-a-long program.

Ride-A-Long Info Form

Please fill out the following form to request a Ride-A-Long

Requestor Information