7-Jan-2013 Source: HeliHub.com
Specialist Aviation Services have imported a pair of MD Explorers from California, which have been purchased from EMS operator CALSTAR. The two have been registered as G-HMDX and G-KSSA and are serials 900-00121 (previously N902RN) and 900-00123 (previously N902CS) respectively.
G-HMDX is for Magpas Helimedix, a more recent addition to the UK EMS scene. Magpas itself dates back to 1971 when an out-of-hours paging service was set up for local doctors under the name of Mid Anglia General Practitioner Accident Service. Their interest in helicopters goes back to 1997 when they put medical teams on the Cambridgeshire Police helicopter based at Wyton, and between 2007 and 2010 they provided medical teams free of charge to the East Anglia Air Ambulance. After various short-term trials, they began full-time operations from Wyton with their own dedicated aircraft in mid 2012.
G-KSSA is for Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance. This operation currently flies a pair of MD Explorers from Marden in Kent, and from Redhill close to the Surrey/Sussex border, covering these three southern counties of the UK in daylight hours.
Both aircraft are fully geared up for night operations, and will presumably free up two existing Explorers on contracts flown by Medical Aviation Services “MAS”, a Specialist subsidiary. MAS currently operate an aircraft for Magpas which was leased in from Belgium, and we expect that to be returned. The other freed-up aircraft – either G-KAAT or G-KSSH – will likely be added to the Specialist “maintenance spare” fleet.
Night EMS operations in the UK have thus far been negligible, and restricted to joint operations with Police forces. However, there is a clear move towards night EMS flights in the UK, and these two Explorers are just part of what we expect could be 5-8 EMS operations flying at night by 18 months time.
CALSTAR is replacing their MD Explorer fleet with new Eurocopter EC135s – see story
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com