Cornwall Air Ambulance raisings funds for second AW169

Cornwall Air Ambulance raisings funds for second AW169

20-Nov-2023 Source: Cornwall Air Ambulance

Cornwall Air Ambulance is delighted to announce the launch of the Heli 2 Appeal, aiming to purchase a second AW169 helicopter.

The charity supports over 1,000 patients who are seriously ill or injured each year, but there is scope to reach even more people by air with the purchase of a second aircraft. The appeal, running from 20th November 2023 until the end of December 2024, is aiming to raise £2.85million to help the lifesaving charity buy this second high-specification helicopter.

Due to the extreme demands on the current helicopter, owning a second will significantly boost the charity’s resilience and availability. It will provide the team with the versatility to operate two aircraft simultaneously during peak high demand periods in the future. And most importantly it will enable the aircrew to fly hundreds of extra missions, helping to save more lives across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Why Cornwall Air Ambulance needs a second helicopter

Cornwall Air Ambulance wants to purchase a second AW169 helicopter so the charity can ensure it delivers a critical care service by air for 19 hours a day, 365 days a year.

It will continue to operate a single helicopter service but will have a second, same specification aircraft ready and available to use in times of planned or unplanned maintenance, boosting availability and resilience.

Currently, when the AW169 is away having its annual maintenance, the charity leases a backup AW109 aircraft from air operations partner Castle Air, so they can continue to respond to critical care missions by air. However, the AW169 is far more advanced and capable.

Owning two AW169s enables the charity to carry the best possible crew, with the best possible equipment, on the best possible aircraft, on all missions. Ultimately, it means they can attend even more patients by air and save more lives.

Tim Bunting, Chief Executive, said: “This is a huge moment for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly as we look to significantly enhance our service provision. We have had some of our busiest months on record this year and our priority is to ensure that we can continue to give the highest quality of care to those who are critically ill or injured. We were the very first air ambulance service in the UK and owning two high specification helicopters for the first time will significantly increase our operational capacity, helping us improve our service over the coming years.”

Tim added: “We’re aware that we’re launching this appeal at a challenging economic time, but thanks to the support of our generous donors, we already have most of the money towards the cost of the £10 million helicopter. We hope the public will get behind us as we look to secure the remaining £2.85million needed by the end of December next year.”

Adam Smith, Chief Pilot, said: “Owning a second AW169 will increase the safety for the team of pilots, as we’ll be operating a single type of helicopter. This will remove the need for pilot training hours in different types of aircraft. The second helicopter will have more advanced lighting providing better awareness of scenes at night in particular. The second helicopter will also have a lower ‘empty’ weight allowing us to carry more fuel and attend when required more missions back-to-back and/or transfers to hospitals out of county. The AW169 has some of the most advanced navigation capabilities in the industry. This means we’ll be able to provide the same standard of service day and night when flying conditions allow, 19 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

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