At night we operate with an extra practitioner whose main role is to act as a technical crew member, supporting the pilot with navigation, reading out heights, speeds and rates of descent, as well as assisting with general awareness. They will also operate the
Trakkabeam spotlight, which is situated on Pegasus’s nose.

When a call comes in during the hours of darkness, operating procedures are slightly different. Actions that are easy to achieve in the day, take longer during the night and therefore the crew take more time planning their mission before they arrive at the scene. Once being tasked by the HEMS desk, the entire team assemble in the operations room. Using satellite imagery, they look for suitable landing locations and check for potential hazards. They will already have searched the nearest pre-surveyed landing sites as a backup, just in
case the location they have chosen is not suitable when they arrive, due to things like livestock or tall crops being present. Despite all the online checks, the crew still do a recce around the perimeter of a landing site at night using the Trakkabeam to ensure there are no obstacles and they are happy to land.

We are extremely fortunate in Dorset and Somerset to have many hospitals that have the ability to accept our aircraft at night. This is a luxury that not all regions have and is a significant benefit to our patients. We continue to be extremely grateful to local residents for their support and understanding of the need for us to fly night missions.

NEXT: End of shift