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Seventeen experienced anaesthetists and 15 novices were filmed intubating the trachea of a training manikin. Measurements were made of the distance from manikin's chin to subject's nose and of the angles at the elbow, the shoulder and of the forearm with the horizontal. Trained subjects stood further back (trained: median 43 cm, interquartile range 41-56 cm; novices 35 cm, 26-38 cm; Mann-Whitney U, p < 0.01), with a straighter arm (trained elbow angle: 108°, 99-121°; novices': 92°, 88-102°; Mann-Whitney U, p < 0.01). Trained subjects tended to hold the laryngoscope closer to the hinge, with a pincer grip; novices were more likely to use a full grip of the handle. Trainers should consider giving novices explicit intructions on how to stand and how to hold the laryngoscope.