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New air ambulance touches down

Say hello to the new chopper

A new generation of helicopter has landed in Devon for the first time - and it's set to be the county's new air ambulance later in the year, with more space to treat patients.

The chopper's visited Exeter as part of a training flight from an Airbus Helicopters base in Oxfordshire. The Devon Air Ambulance Trust formally accepted the new H145 in June and since then its pilots have been undertaking extensive training. The flight into Exeter is part of a three-week training programme which includes classroom-based theory, visual and instrument flight training and a theory exam.   

Devon Air Ambulance flight operations director Ian Payne said: “Those with a keen eye will notice the new H145, registered G-DAAS, is slightly bigger than our current EC135 aircraft which means we have a larger internal space to treat and convey patients, we can carry more emergency medical equipment and it has a longer flight time between refuelling. The advanced technology and aviation systems that are included with this aircraft really make the H145 a complete package and will ensure we have the very best airborne capability to deliver our enhanced and critical care for many years to come.” 

Gary Clark, head of civil business for Airbus Helicopters in the UK, said: “We greatly appreciate Devon Air Ambulance’s continuing confidence in our products, and we look forward to supporting them for many years to come. The H145 provides a substantial enhancement to air ambulance operations and we are confident that it will enable DAA to offer even higher standards of service in its vitally important field of work.” 

This training flight is one of a number the pilots will carry out as they gain experience of the H145s advanced aviation technology and systems that deliver handling, autopilot and navigational aid functions. Once the pilot training is completed in Oxford during August the new aircraft will be permanently based here in Devon, where more crew training will be carried out before the aircraft goes into service later in the year.  

DAA Chief Executive Heléna Holt said: "Our thanks, as ever, to all the businesses, communities and individuals who support us. We look forward to the day that we can invite you all to come and see the new aircraft which has been made possible by your generous support.”  

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