Keen eyed air ambulance supporters might notice some strange goings on this October in Cornwall.
The charity is tendering for a new generation air ambulance which it is hoped will go into service from December 2019. When the charity last tendered the contract, back in 2012, the new generation helicopters were not yet certified by the Civil Aviation Authority to fly in UK skies.
However they now are, and indeed some of the other air ambulance charities up and down the UK have taken delivery of, or are about to take delivery of, new generation helicopters.
This has given the team in Cornwall a wonderful opportunity to watch, listen and learn, and to take our time in selecting the best air ambulance for the people of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly for the next 10 years.
We have been very lucky to “borrow” different helicopter types from other air ambulance organisations, and to have the opportunity to “test drive” them for the day. The paramedics, doctors and pilots are all very involved in the process, as they are the people who work at the forefront of the operations, but some of the charity fundraising team, trustees, and other stakeholders including hospitals and the ambulance service, have also been involved in the project so far.
The new aircraft types include the AW169 and the Airbus H145. The Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust would like to say a massive thank you to the Kent Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust, Elitaliana near Rome, and the East Anglia Air Ambulance Trust in particular, for their help and for allowing us access to their latest generation air ambulances. We would also like to thank the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust and Cornwall Airport Newquay for their assistance with our “test drive” activities.
We are sorry that due to the confidential nature of a tender process, we cannot release any more information yet. The decision and announcement of the new helicopter or helicopters will be made during 2017, which is of course the 30th year that Cornwall Air Ambulance has been helping to save lives.