News Blog Update from the cockpit Aircraft Modifications The keen-eyed among you will have noted that there have been some additions to Pegasus’s undercarriage since the start of the year. ‘Bear Paws’ have recently been fitted; these are designed to stop the aircraft sinking into soft ground. They have already proved their worth in the mud, sand and snow over the winter. Another modification to the aircraft is the replacement of a fixed forward-facing seat in the left-hand side of the cabin, to one that swivels and moves forwards and backwards. This gives our clinicians greater flexibility when treating a patient. Weather Stations Adverse weather conditions can have an impact on the incidents we are tasked to, both from being able to reach the patient and from a flight safety point of view. The weather can change rapidly, so it’s important that we have access to the most up to date weather information. Before we began flying at night, we were required to install a weather station at our Henstridge airbase. This now gives us visibility and cloud base data as well as air temperature and surface wind information. All this data can be accessed when we are out in the field through a web-based system. Routinely, we get weather information from local airfields, but many of these begin to close at around 10.00pm. This means that the amount of information available to us begins to reduce after that time. There is also very little weather information available to the South and West of our operational area; the Dorchester/Portland area seems to have a unique weather pattern of its own. That is why the Charity’s Trustees agreed to purchase two weather stations; one to be located at Dorset County Hospital (Dorchester) and the other at Musgrove Park Hospital (Taunton). These will give us early warning of bad weather approaching and enable us to make important operational decisions based upon this knowledge. They will also add to a growing group of weather stations located across the region. The weather station at Dorset County Hospital is now operational. Night Vision Goggle Operations The use of Night Vision Goggles enables us to safely fly our Critical Care Team to wherever they are needed at night. These operations are obviously more challenging than those during the day and we are constantly looking at ways to improve the way we operate, both in terms of safety and efficiency. In consultation with the Civil Aviation Authority it was agreed that we should have lights along a section of the runway at Henstridge. This would allow us to depart for an incident quicker than we can from our helipad alone and it will also allow us to use the runway at night. The Charity has agreed to purchase the runway lighting and upgrade the current helipad lighting. It is hoped that the lights will be installed during the spring.