The second MD902 Explorer helicopter for London’s Air Ambulance has taken to the air on Friday 22nd January at Gloucestershire Airport on its first UK test flights with the appropriate registration G-LNDN. The helicopter arrived by road on 9th October in the lime green colour scheme of its previous owners – the Hamad Medical Corporation in Qatar – and carrying it’s previous registration A7-NHA.
The helicopter has been worked on by Specialist Aviation Service in the intervening three months, bringing it to UK standards and we expect some interior changes to ensure it matches the first helicopter G-EHMS to simplify medical teams working with either aircraft.
Back in August 2015 we reported that London’s Air Ambulance has raised almost £4M so far raised towards a target of £6M, and that the charity had completed on the purchase of this aircraft which has approximately 1,400 hours on the airframe. Hamad flew the aircraft from autumn 2008 until it retired its two Explorers in February 2014 when it moved across to flying three AgustaWestland AW139s.
Putting the second aircraft into the mix will reduce down-time during operational hours, in particular covering the annual maintenance period on each aircraft.
Out of a total of 122 MD Explorers delivered ex-factory to customers, this aircraft brings the current UK fleet of the type to 24. Of these, the National Police Air Service have already put two into storage and intend to dispose of 7 high-time examples in the next two years.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
Photos are © Copyright 2016 Graeme Lovell, reproduced here with his permission
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