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The new helicopter has arrived

Nigel Hare

Operations Director Nigel Hare with GDAAN at the Royal International Air Tattoo

by Nigel Hare, Operations Director

On the 31st July DAAT took delivery of its brand new Air Ambulance. The people of Devon have been truly fantastic in supporting us to make this possible and I wanted to share with you just how your help will enable us to further develop the service and bring even greater benefit to patients.

One of the most frequent things I am asked is “Why buy and not continue leasing?”  There are three main reasons:

• The ability to design the Air Ambulance to meet the needs of the patients and aircrew here in Devon, rather than having to accept an ‘off the shelf’ standard design

• The ability to modify and incorporate the latest technologies both in terms of aviation and medical equipment throughout the life of the aircraft, meaning that we will not have a period of stagnation until the helicopter is replaced

• It saves us money! We have owned the aircraft which operates at Exeter since 2008 and we have seen savings average around £12,000 a month. We expect £25,000 a month savings by owning both our helicopters, all of which we plan to invest in developing the service even further; to enable us to enhance the clinical care we can provide patients and to operate more hours each day, including operating at night for the first time

The ability to design the aircraft to meet our needs means we have conceived a specification which can meet our future plans to enhance the clinical care and operate at night. Flying at night will require the use of Night Vision Goggles (NVG) and the aircraft instruments and interior have been made fully NVG compatible in readiness for this exciting development. Early next year we will be approaching Devon’s communities with details of how we plan to expand into flying at night and how your community will be able to help us to help you – watch this space!

We have also incorporated additional safety features including enhanced digital GPS mapping and a Traffic Avoidance System (TAS) which provides us with advance warning of other aircraft that are entering our proximity.
Clinically we have incorporated all the advancements we built in our Exeter aircraft and added some more. There is a larger storage cabinet which will be able to hold a larger range of items we use to treat patients in flight, new equipment retainers to hold securely the latest patient monitoring and other medical devices and a battery backup / charging system which will help ensure even on busy days all our equipment is fully charged and ready for use.

If you would like to see your new Air Ambulance, we have planned a series of opportunities starting on Wednesday 8th August through to Tuesday 13th inclusive where the helicopter will be ‘dropping in’ to 14 different free to enter community events. Click here to find out more.

On behalf of everyone at Devon Air Ambulance I would like to thank all of you who helped make purchasing our new helicopter possible. I know just how much of a difference it will make patients, especially when it starts to operate at night.

Nigel Hare

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