Cornwall’s New Air Ambulance Helicopters Celebrate Links To Islands

Artist's impression of the new air ambulance

Artist’s impression of the new air ambulance

Cornwall Air Ambulance says their two new helicopters will significantly enhance the service they can provide to the Isles of Scilly.

And to celebrate their links to the islands, one of the aircraft will sport the new registration number G-CIOS.

Cornwall Air Ambulance Chief Executive, Paula Martin, says the charity has absolutely wonderful support from the people and businesses of Scilly.

She says the air ambulance really is a lifeline service and islanders have remained steadfastly behind the charity for the last 27 years.

“We wanted to recognise their continuing support, and for us this seemed the most fitting way to do it,” says Paula.

The organisation signed a contract last year that will see it move its operations to a new provider, Specialist Aviation Services, from December 2014.

It means two helicopters will serve the region for the first time, providing a dedicated on-site backup when one aircraft is offline for maintenance.

Public Relations Officer Tom Matthews says the most significant change is that the new MD902 Explorer choppers will be able to fly into the evening, initially for 12 hours a day throughout the year.

Until a recent change in aviation law, no air ambulance service in the UK has been able to fly at night, meaning that the Air Ambulance can’t provide rescue cover during the evening in the winter.

Both helicopters will be equipped with specially adapted cockpits and full Night Vision Imaging for crews.

It is hoped the extended operating hours will come into effect from early 2015.

The new aircraft will also able to carry more specialist medical equipment, additional medical personnel like volunteer Critical Care Doctors, a relative of the patient    or additional fuel to fly further to specialist treatment centres, such as the Bristol Children’s Hospital.

And more fuel-efficient engines will mean better use of the charity’s money. The service cost £2.5m to run last year and they receive no direct government funding or National Lottery support.

Around 60 missions, roughly 10% of the total, were flown to Scilly last year.

More information on the new helicopters is available here.