Leading regional charity, Midlands Air Ambulance, has made a strategic decision to purchase outright the service’s first helicopter, which will be based at the RAF Cosford airbase in Shropshire.
As the UK’s largest and busiest air ambulance service, Midlands Air Ambulance currently leases three EC135 helicopters from Bond Air Services, but will be replacing the RAF Cosford aircraft with a brand new state of the art EC135T2e helicopter.
The helicopter, which will be operational from the RAF Cosford airbase in March 2014, was initially built at Eurocopter in Germany and will be delivered to Bond Air Services in Staverton in December. While at Bond Air Services it will be painted and fitted with pre-hospital medical equipment, plus additional equipment for potential night flying between lit helipads and night Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) operations.
Brendan Connor, chairman for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, explains the decision: “As part of our objective to reinvest charitable donations into HEMS operations and extending pre-hospital patient care, we made the decision to purchase our own helicopter.
“The new £4.5 million helicopter has been entirely funded through public donations, demonstrating the incredible support our vital life saving service receives from local Midlands’ communities and businesses, which we are extremely grateful for.”
As the new aircraft is being equipped with the capability for night flying, Midlands Air Ambulance is exploring the viability and operational requirements of flying in the hours of darkness. This includes looking into potential demand for undertaking night HEMS operations, whereby the service is called out to life saving missions at night. As the proposed extended service will cost more to operate, Midlands Air Ambulance Charity will be launching a public appeal in the New Year to help raise the extra funds required.
Brendan concludes: “The new aircraft will undoubtedly help us to save more lives as it presents us with an opportunity to expand our incredible service and deliver the best possible patient care to those we airlift. But we cannot afford to rest on our laurels and although this is a milestone achievement in our 22 years of service, we need the support from the local communities we serve now, more than ever.”
HeliHub.com editor note – the aircraft concerned is serial 1144. Buying a helicopter is a strategic step for Midlands Air Ambulance, who previously relied on aircraft leased from Bond Aviation Services
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