CCAT Aeromedical Training™ for Flight Medical Personnel

History and Background

The Clinical Considerations in Aeromedical Transport (CCAT) suite of training courses is unique. The original classroom-based short course (the six-day Foundation Level course) is a course initially designed for doctors who want to learn about the air transportation of ill or injured patients, but which now trains doctors alongside flight nurses and paramedics, together, as a team. The course was designed by Dr Terry Martin in the early 90s and it is now accepted as an international gold standard for the training of aeromedical escorts (flight medical crew). 

 Although the earliest courses were only intended and designed for military medevac crews, the first university-level course open to civilians was run at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire, UK in 1996. The courses have subsequently been based at the University of Surrey (Guildford, UK) since 1998, due to its proximity to both Heathrow and Gatwick airports and a number of other essential aerospace medical facilities. 

Since 2002, CCAT courses have also been conducted successfully in 11 other countries outside of the UK and interest from new counties is growing, year on year. Many of the countries which have adopted CCAT training have also created links with local universities and health authorities which has resulted in accreditations and mutually beneficial academic links. Despite the growth and development of non-UK courses, participants from 26 countries around the world have travelled to the UK to attend CCAT courses in over the past two decades, and the number continues to grow.

The first day of the original course is now undertaken as self-directed learning that ensures all delegates start the formal academic teaching at the same level and standard, regardless of their profession and seniority.  The first formal taching part of the Foundation Level course consists of two intensive days (or 4 shorter days on the webinar-based course) which are devoted entirely to the relevant principles of aviation and environmental physiology. These are cornerstones to the clinical and logistic principles of aeromedical care and are considered so important that this section has its own examination, independent of the final course exam.

The second part of the short face-to-face course lasts three days (or five shorter days by webinar training) , and covers clinical aspects of transport medicine with special relevance to fixed wing and helicopter flight. It provides the necessary background to enable sensible and safe decisions about fitness to fly, and allows prediction of potential aeromedical problems.

In the face-to-face course:

 1. The multimedia approach of the presentations, combined with many practical sessions, ensure a hands-on approach for delegates and affords plenty of opportunity for audience interaction.  [We have developed some strategies to enable practical work to be undertaken by those who are taking the webinar route.]

 2. The course has always devoted time to helicopter air ambulance operations, and there is often an optional visit to the London Helicopter Emergency Medical Service at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, London, which has links historically with Dr Terry Martin as one of their early HEMS doctors.

 3. Practical visits are sometimes included within the course such as visits to a commercial airline operator and practical teaching of stretcher fitting, lifting and loading. The diverse and full program always results in complementary and often valuable comments following the course.

The Foundation Level course fills a valuable void in the industry's educational needs. But it's all about standards - improving standards of medical care by education and skills acquisition. By setting educational standards now, we are not only protecting our patients by offering them the best there is, but we're also protecting the insurers who understand the value of adequately and appropriately trained and equipped aeromedical escorts. After all, under the legal concept of respondeat superior (‘let the master answer’'), any action against negligent flight medical crew may well, in turn, spread liability to the insurers. (i.e. the ‘master’ is liable for the wrongful acts of his ‘servant’).

CCAT Aeromedical Training naturally takes the Foundation Level training further to cover the wider range of situations encountered in every aspect of air ambulance work, commercial repatriation practice, emergency medevac missions, search and rescue, and so on. Advanced Level courses are often written bespoke for individual aeromedical services so that training can be directed proportionately at the procedures required for individual service, often taking account of specific aircraft, specific air-portable medical equipment, local rules and regulations, as well as national jurisdictions. An account of the wide diversity of courses in the UK can be found on this  website and further information about bespoke training and non-UK courses can be acquired by contacting the CCAT courses co-ordinator/administrator) via [email protected]

In conclusion, CCAT offers a new and evolving model for training aeromedical escorts and flight medical crews, based on core clinical and aviation physiology knowledge, yet it adopts a practical approach to the acquisition of skills essential in both fixed wing and helicopter (repatriation, scene flight and inter-hospital transfer) scenarios.


CCAT Aeromedical Training™ has provided rotary wing and fixed wing air ambulance and aeromedical transport education since 1996. The brand is well known across the globe, and CCAT has welcomed students from 69 countries to its UK base at the University of Surrey. We train up to 150 students annually, not just in England, but from our training events in ten other countries worldwide. Currently we provide Foundation Level and Advanced courses, as well as e-learning and single study days for very specific areas of the curriculum. Graduates who successfully pass the basic courses are awarded the internationally recognised CCAT certificate which is valid for five years.

“Last year, I could attend your course and I strongly thought that I wanted to reinvent myself. You encouraged me with your path you walked. I was impressed with you and you truly inspired me to study again. You taught me that knowledge is power.”

SC, CCAT Foundation Level Thailand 2017