This year may have been challenging, both from an operational and a fundraising point of view, but thanks to our incredible supporters we have been able to take some important steps to help ensure our patients continue to receive the best care.

Because of you...we welcomed the arrival of the new H145 Helicopter

The new year brings with it new and exciting projects and plans for Devon Air Ambulance (DAA). The past year has been challenging in many ways for everyone and here at DAA we certainly met and overcame some significant challenges.

But there have also been many developments, highlights and celebrations that wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering determination of those who kindly give to Devon Air Ambulance in so many ways and to whom we are extremely grateful.

The biggest development operationally was on 11 November when the new Airbus H145 helicopter went into service. After many years of planning and collaboration on an international level, the new aircraft based at Exeter airport became operational. Our Critical Care Paramedics are on site from 7am until 2am waiting for call and can be airborne and on their way to assist a patient within just two minutes. 

Ian Payne, Flight Operations Director explains: 

We were absolutely thrilled to bring the Airbus H145 home to the people of Devon. Their determination to raise the funds needed, coupled with our determination to deliver this magnificent aircraft, means we now have state of the art flight systems and much improved space available to treat and convey patients. 
It has a bigger airframe than our EC135 and we have designed our own medical fit-out which includes a unique seating configuration so that up to three clinicians can all access a patient, either on the ground or when in flight, with their vital life-saving equipment and monitors laid out systematically and within easy reach.” 
In true DAA tradition, when a new Heli joins the fleet, we had plans to fly G-DAAS around the county to show her off and say thank you for the tremendous help that hundreds of our supporters gave to bring her to fruition, however, with the pandemic continuing to stand in our way, there are now plans afoot to host a number of virtual tours which will give everyone a birds eye view and a closer look at the interior of this amazing medical machine. 

The pilots and medical crew on board the new aircraft have already discovered that the H145 has many additional benefits that are making a difference to them and their patient on board:

Specialist Critical Care Paramedic Jess explains:

“The larger clinical area in the 145 means that we are able to keep more of our equipment with the patient in flight. With the smaller 135, prior to loading the patient, the clinical team has to prioritise which equipment needs to be kept with the patient and which can be stowed in the front left-hand seat as there's less space available to keep everything in the back. Throughout the pandemic, this became increasingly challenging because a protective screen segregated us in the clinical area to the pilot in the cockpit, therefore once equipment was stowed in the front, it couldn't be accessed. The 145 eradicates this problem as all kit remains at the patient’s side and within our easy reach!”

Pilot Craig Bissett describes his favourite part of the new aircraft:

"My favourite part of the H145 is the amazing Helionix Flight System - it's an Airbus package and contains a fantastic range of information displayed clearly on a number of screens for the use of both the Pilot and Paramedics here in the cockpit.  It contains vital safety information which enables us to plan ahead and to make the best decisions possible to fly our medical team and our patients on board safely to our destination. I would like to thank our supporters for all they have done to enable us to welcome this new Heli to the fleet, without them it would not have been possible."
Let us not forget that G-DAAN the H135 helicopter, formerly based at Exeter has now relocated to the service’s North Devon airbase at Eaglescott near Burrington, which means that Devon now has two aircraft with full night vision capability, another invaluable benefit when the crew are called out to assist a medical emergency in the hours of darkness. 

Read more about our H145 Helicopter

We also added two Critical Care Cars to our service

After such a challenging year, February 2020 feels like a long time ago, but it was then that we expanded our service to include two rapid response Critical Care Cars (CCC).

The cars were indispensable when our helicopters had to be temporarily taken offline to be made Covid-safe during the early days of the pandemic and meant that we could continue to respond to patients who needed the swift response and the enhanced level of Critical Care that our medical team could give upon their arrival at the scene.

The CCC's also give our paramedics and doctors the ability to drive into busier, built up areas that are not always easily accessible for the aircraft which needs a suitable and safe landing site.

On an ongoing basis, when poor weather or maintenance prevents Devon’s emergency aircraft from flying, the Critical Care Cars continue to deliver specialist life-saving care to patients by road. Operations Manager, Darren Goodwin describes the benefits:

The CCCs are very safe, fast, and equipped with all that’s needed for our teams to deliver life-saving treatment to a patient. They are fitted with blue lights and warning sirens and our teams have also undergone extensive enhanced emergency response ‘blue light’ driver training.

Read more about our Critical Care Cars

We are a charity that we hope many of you will never need to call upon, but to ensure that we are there for you we ask you kindly to continue to support our work. Our critical care team arrive on scene to help save the life of somebody’s loved one every day and it’s thanks to those of you who have kindly chosen us as your charity, that any of this is possible.

Can you help us to continue to deliver our service and develop our patient care, we depend on you to make it possible. If you can, please donate or find out about more ways to get on board. Thank you for your continued support.

Help give our service a boost this year and donate today