8-Aug-2011 Source: HeliHub.com
East Anglian Air Ambulance “EAAA” have had a rough time in recent months, starting with their previous vendor Sterling Helicopters losing their operating certificate after internal procedural irregularities (see story).Â Sterling owned and operated the two Eurocopter BK117s that EAAA used, and thus the air ambulancd charity without a ride.Â Within a couple of weeks, Bond Air Services started to provide an interim solution of two Bo105s (see story) and EAAA was able to restore a service to the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire that it covered.
HeliHub.com can now reveal that EAAA is moving over to EC135 equipment, with Bond Air Services supplying them an aircraft leased in from German operator ADAC.Â Previously registered D-HJAR, this aircraft was imported to the UK on 6th July and was re-registered in the UK as G-CGXK on 26th of the month.Â 44th off the production line which which recently celebrated it’s 1,000th delivery, the aircraft concerned is an early T1 model which ADAC had spare after recent deliveries of newer aircraft.Â This will replace one of the Bo105s.
EAAA are still embroiled in the Sterling saga as they own an engine fitted to one of the BK117s, having funded it for the operator when they had cashflow difficulties.Â Lesson to be learned there, we suggest.
With EAA moving to the EC135, the future of the BK117 as a type in the UK is called to question as engineers retrain etc.Â Apart from the two Sterling aircraft, the only other BK117 is the ex-Devon and Cornwall Police aircraft G-DCPA which is being leased by owners Veritair to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, flying alongside their EC145 and an EC135 leased from Eurocopter UK.Â While we are aware of the commonality between the BK117 and the EC145 (which is, after all, certified as the “BK117C-2”), the lack of certified personnel could well lead to the type’s demise.Â But then, perhaps the disposal by the liquidators of Sterling’s pair may provide a cheap acquisition alternative for the All Ireland Air Ambulance?
Jeremy Parkin, HeliHub.com