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New £4.5million air ambulance equipped for night flights
LIFESAVING night time missions could soon be a possibility for Midlands Air Ambulance after it purchased its first £4.5 million helicopter.
The charity’s brand new state of the art EC135T2e helicopter, funded entirely through public donations, is equipped with the capability for night flight.
Midlands Air Ambulance is currently exploring the viability, operational requirements of flying in the hours of darkness as well as the potential demand for night operations.
A new public appeal will be launched in the New Year to raise the extra money needed to fund the extended the service.
Midlands Air Ambulance currently leases three EC135 helicopters from Bond Air Services but will be replacing the aircraft based at RAF Cosford in Shropshire with the new model.
Brendan Connor, chairman for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, said: “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.”
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.
It will then be painted and fitted with pre-hospital medical equipment as well as additional equipment for potential night flying between lit helipads and night Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) operations.
Mr Connor said: “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 Midlands’ communities and businesses, which we are extremely grateful for.”
To see the progress of the aircraft’s fit out follow Midlands Air Ambulance on Twitter @MAA_Charity or like the charity on Facebook.
For more information on the charity log on to www.midlandsairambulance.com or call the service on 0800 8402040.
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