12-Feb-2014 Source: HeliHub.com
Wiltshire Air Ambulance has told the residents of the British county it represents that it is actively on the look-out for a new base. From when they launched operations through to the end of November 2014, Wiltshire Air Ambulance has been a joint operation with Wiltshire Police in which the law enforcement unit owned and operated an MD Explorer from the Police headquarters in Devizes. With the Police moving over to the UK’s new National Police Air Service, Wiltshire Air Ambulance need to become an autonomous operation. Part of this is resolved with the signing of a contract with Heli Charter under which they latter provides an Bell 429 – the first in the EMS role in the UK.
Wiltshire Air Ambulance are now on the hunt for a site to base the Bell 429 – somewhat late if they are to commence operations from 1st December 2014. However, they have now publicly stated that their aim is a complete turnkey base like Cornwall Air Ambulance with all of the charity staff – fundraisers and the like – based at the same location as the helicopter. The artist impression below is that of the plans put down in Cornwall – which have since evolved into full operation.
The charity has reportedly identified 10-12 potential commercial, military or private landing sits or airfields within 7 miles of Devizes, but is not limiting their search to aviation-type properties. There are precedents – such as in Kent – where Air Ambulance charities have located their bases on industrial estates and is thus not ruling anything out.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com