Yorkshire Air Ambulance to replace helicopters in £15 million project

Yorkshire Air Ambulance is to replace its two helicopters at a cost of more than £15 million.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 12:24 pm

The charity is preparing to replace its current Airbus H145 D2 helicopters with next generation aircraft by the end of the summer of 2023.

It will be the first organisation in the UK to receive the brand new, five-bladed H145 D3 model.

The two current helicopters, which came into service in 2016, are to be replaced to ‘ensure the people of Yorkshire receive the best operational and medical service’ from Yorkshire Air Ambulance

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Yorkshire Air Ambulance is to replace its helicopters (Photo: YAA)

Steve Waudby, Director of Aviation, said: “Our two current helicopters have served us well since 2016 and will continue to do so for another few years.

“However, the typical effective lifespan of an air ambulance helicopter is somewhere between seven to 10 years, so we are placing a timely order now for delivery in 2023, whilst taking advantage of early Airbus production line slots, as this helicopter has become very popular within the air ambulance community.

“There have also been a lot of advancements made to the H145 since we bought our current aircraft – both technically in the cockpit, and medically with regards to the equipment we carry.

“We had the choice to look at retrospectively fitting these technological advancements or upgrading to brand-new helicopters that include everything as part of their specification. Given the complexities of helicopter mechanics, we would have also faced a longer lead time with having everything retrospectively fitted rather than buying new, so it was sensible for the charity to upgrade the helicopters for new ones.”

Advancements will provide a smoother flight for the crew and patients, on board Wi-Fi to allow patient records to be updated inflight and a cutting-edge secure communications system which will allow the crew to send patient data to their destination hospital, allowing doctors and nurses to start evaluating and assessing patients before they arrive. Peter Sunderland, chairman of the YAA, said purchasing the new helicopters is possible due to ‘prudent, planned savings, careful budgeting and building reserves’.

The current helicopters will be sold to offset costs.

He said: “This has only been made possible through the generosity of individuals, groups, businesses and organisations whose support is so gratefully received.”

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