Work is being done to ensure an air ambulance service at Pangborn Airport continues to have hangar space. 

Airlift Northwest currently operates from the Executive Flight building but will have to move when the Washington Army National Guard takes over the building this year. 

Chelan Douglas Port Authority director of economic development and capital projects Stacy de Mestre says they're going to begin construction on a hangar for Airlift Northwest, even though there’s no current state money for it. 

"We weren't successful in getting full funding from the state for that, but we do have roughly $1.7 million, and we've decided to phase that project," said de Mestre.  

The Port, which owns and operates the airport, will build a hangar complex shell and hangar door only this year, with the hope of getting state funding to complete the project next year. 

Port commissioners OK’d the plan at their last public meeting. 

Constructing the hangar shell, referred to as a Partial Buildout, was one of four options being considered. 

Commissions decided against a Full Buildout of the hangar because the Port would have to fund it with $4.4 million out of pocket and the rent payments from Airlift Northwest would be substantial. 

A plan to wait for more grant money to build the hangar was also rejected because of the uncertainty of when state funding would come through. There was also concern about construction cost increases over time.  

As well, a plan to forgo a new hangar and move Airlift Northwest into the Fedex Hangar was dismissed, partly because $1.7 million in existing state money for the project would have to be returned to the state. 

The Partial Buildout calls for the structure to be made weather-tight. There will be a delay in interior finish work and outside paving work until additional funding can be secured.   

The Airlift Northwest operation at Pangborn Airport consists of a helicopter service to fly seriously injured patients to hospitals in the region, including Confluence Health Hospital Central Campus in Wenatchee and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. 

Hanger Coming For Major Air Ambulance Service At Pangborn Airportis a program of the University of Washington School of Medicine and Harborview Medical Center. 

It had a base in the area from the 1990s to 2007. 

Airlift then served Wenatchee using aircraft stationed in Yakima or the Seattle area before setting up shop at Pangborn Airport in 2019. 

It touts the fact that the trip from Pangborn to Chelan takes just 15 minutes while Leavenworth is 12 minutes away and Quincy only takes 10 minutes. 

Airlift says it can reach a critical patient, perform emergency medicine, and transport them to a hospital faster than virtually anyone. 

LOOK: 50 Washington Innovations

Invention and innovation happen all over the world, all the time - but there's no denying that Washington State has contributed a distinct collection of ideas that have changed the world. Here's a look at over 100 years of innovations created in Washington, as chronicled in part by the Washington State Department of Commerce.

Gallery Credit: Jaime Skelton

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