London’s Air Ambulance are reportedly moving base to Northolt in the very near future, having overnighted their helicopter – currently an MD Explorer, plus the Dauphin before that – for 24 years at Denham. There are two possible reasons for this – either their contract was with Premiair (who ceased operating from Denham late last year), or it was with airfield owners Bickertons and “up for renewal”. Perhaps two to three minutes flying time nearer its daytime base in Whitechapel, basing at Northolt would bring a saving of 20-30 hours flying time per year.
HeliHub.com sources have gone so far as putting a date – this Friday 8th February – on the move, although that seems to be a little flexible as it is the estimated date of completing the MD Explorer’s annual. Furthermore, there are reports of a change of colour scheme with less emphasis on being a “flying billboard” as new CEO Graham Hodgkin is working towards a time when sponsors should feel proud of being associated with LAA rather than LAA being dependent on sponsors.
London’s Air Ambulance flies approximately 400 hours a year with an MD Explorer acquired in 2000. Hodgkin has long term plans to have two helicopters available 24×7 – quite a step up from a single helicopter daytime-only operation as at present.
An official press release on the base move is expected in the next 48 hours and we will append the text of that below this one.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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