A new arrival on the British aircraft register yesterday was a new Eurocopter EC135P2e for Devon Air Ambulance. Serial 1080 has recently been completed at the Donauworth factory and is now registered as G-DAAN. This normally signifies arrival in the UK, and the aircraft is currently registered to Eurocopter UK at Oxford,. who are doing the completion work.
Readers may remember our article 18 months ago Devon Air Ambulance change engine supplier with new EC135 order. There, we noted that the new aircraft is scheduled to come online in July 2013 – which would seem to be about right after an EMS fit-out and painting. We expect it will be in the same colours as the other “owned” EC135, seen in our accompanying photo.
Devon Air Ambulance currently operates two EC135s, one that they own and a second that they lease from Bond Air Services. This new EC135P2e will replace the leased aircraft G-DAAT. Prior to making the purchase decision, DAA were in the rare position of being able to compare the running costs of two helicopters, one owned and one leased, and they told us at the time that they would save £12,000 (approx US$19,340 at today’s rates) per month merely by owning instead of leasing the aircraft.
The unusual aspect, though, is their choice of engine supplier. CUrrently operating two Turbomeca powered EC135s, the arrival of a Pratt & Whitney aircraft is the result of much number-crunching, as well as many questions by their maintenance team! This echos the police market too – the early years of the EC135 in the UK were all Turbomeca aircraft. West Midlands Police broke the tradition in 2007 with the first P2+ in the UK, followed by neighbouring East Midlands. A bulk order of six EC135s by a consortium of police forces also went for the P&W power. Devon Air Ambulance will be the first P&W powered EC135 in the UK Air Ambulance market.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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