New Air Ambulance for Northants

Patients who need life-saving treatment in Northamptonshire are being promised the fastest possible care with the launch of brand new helicopter.

The county's air ambulance team have just taken delivery of the fastet civilian helicopter available which can reach speeds of just under 200mph.

The Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA) say it will enable them to quickly provide vital medical care on the scene often meaning the difference between life and death.

The aircraft has the capability for a rapid start and shut-down sequence and can be airborne in about 45 seconds where some services can take around two minutes to warm up and the same to shut down.

Andy Williamson, WNAA Chief Executive, told Heart “We are obviously very excited from an operational perspective to be getting a brand new aircraft.  The WNAA team are continuously driven by providing the best possible care to our patients and this will help us to provide the best possible service and care."

Interview with Andy Williamson

The new aircraft will increase reliability and host an all new patient monitoring system and enhanced Lifeport Stretcher System. This is a new generation stretcher structure which automatically rotates and glides out of the aircraft door, reducing lifting and handling and improving patient comfort. It will also be fitted with full all weather capability instruments to enable the  crew to fly in bad weather.

After seven years of service the old helicopter had flown over 3,400 flying hours and needed increased maintenance.

The new helicopter is leased from Sloane Helicopters, based at Sywell, as part of an ongoing lease agreement.

Since launching the charity in 2003 over 8,200 missions have been attended by the helicopter and crew are operational during daylight hours, seven days a week.

WNAA is one of the busiest air ambulances in the UK and attends 100 call outs per month on average this equates to around four calls a day; however, in peak times such as the summer they can attend 150 call outs per month.

WNAA is a registered charity and it costs over £1.5milion a year to keep the service operational.