Three new AW169 Air Ambulance helicopters take to the sky

June 19, 2017 by Tracy

It was a spectacular sight as three brand-new AW169 helicopters took to the skies for the very first time last week. This rare occurrence took place in the skies above Gloucester Airport, home of Specialist Aviation Services, where the three aircraft had been undergoing medical fit-outs to become the UK’s first AW169 Air Ambulances.

The aircraft then flew to their new homes at three separate Air Ambulance charities - Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance, Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, and Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance.

As the first of their kind to enter the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) in the UK – they are top-of-the-range when it comes to advancements in Medical Aviation. The state-of-the-art helicopters have advanced avionics and are the fastest response helicopter currently in the HEMS arena. The AW169 also has great endurance, allowing the pilots to fly for longer without the need to refuel.

In addition, the new helicopters will provide many enhanced benefits to patient care; allowing medical crews 360 degree unobstructed access to their patients, greatly increasing the specialist critical care that can be delivered in flight and positively impacting upon a patients’ chance of survival and recovery. These outstanding characteristics, superior capabilities and first-class safety standards will ensure unprecedented levels of mission effectiveness and provide an enhanced life-saving service for patients.

Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance CEO Bill Sivewright, said: “It has always been the charity’s aim and clear vision to pursue clinical excellence. Pairing Critical Care Teams with the outstanding capabilities of the AW169 is a natural development of that vision.”

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance CEO Adrian Bell, explained: “The enhanced capabilities of the AW169 will allow us to further improve the life-saving service we deliver to the community, and offers us the exciting potential to reconfigure how these services are delivered for maximum effect in the future.”

Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance CEO Karen Jobling, added: “The AW169 will put our charities at the forefront of medical aviation as we strive to provide the very best critical care possible, giving some of the most critically ill and injured patients their very best chance of survival.”

The AW169s with Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance and Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance are now operational and ready to be dispatched to some of the most serious, life-threatening or time-critical 999 calls every single day, 365 days a year, while Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance crews are undergoing a further period of training with their AW169, prior to it coming into service.

As these charities receive no direct Government funding, this is only possible thanks to the people in the communities in which the Charities serve who help to raise the funds needed to keep their local Air Ambulance operational and saving lives.

Photos kindly provided by Ed Hicks