This study evaluated the ability of prehospital providers who had no previous training in intubation, to use an Airtraq laryngoscope to intubate a manikin model of a Cormack and Lehane grade III/IV view. Volunteers attending the Australian College of Ambulance Professionals conference, Adelaide, in November 2006 received approximately 5 min of Airtraq training. First-time intubation success rate was 26/33 (79%) (95% CI 61'91%); oesophageal intubation rate was 0/33 (0%) (95% CI 0'11%); median time to intubation was 17 s (IQR 10'25 s (range 5'30 s)); and median subject-rated difficulty of use score was 21 out of a maximum of 100 (IQR 7.5'35.5 (range 1'65)). Pre-hospital providers without previous laryngoscopy training achieved high first-time intubation success rates when managing a model of a grade III/IV difficult intubation with an Airtraq laryngoscope. Users evaluated it as easy to use and achieved intubation within an acceptable breath-to-breath interval.