– Press Release-
April 3rd is a momentous day in Midlands Air Ambulance Charity’s 23 year history, as the service officially unveiled its first wholly owned helicopter, which replaced one of the three leased aircraft.
The newly registered ‘G-OMAA’ EC135T2e aircraft was initially built at Eurocopter in Germany before receiving its medical equipment fit out at Bond Air Services in Staverton earlier this year. The £4.5 million helicopter undertook its maiden flight late February from Bond Air Services to Midlands Air Ambulance’s RAF Cosford airbase in Shropshire where it has been carrying out numerous helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) missions on a daily basis.
Previously, Midlands Air Ambulance leased all three EC135 helicopters from Bond Air Services. The aircraft are based at RAF Cosford in Shropshire, Tatenhill in Staffordshire and Strensham in Worcestershire. The service made a decision to replace the existing leased RAF Cosford aircraft with the brand new and wholly charity owned EC135T2e helicopter. The remaining two air ambulance helicopters will continue to be leased from Bond Air Services.
Hanna Sebright, chief executive for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, states: “The decision to purchase outright our own helicopter was made as part of our strategic plan to strengthen our long term sustainability by reducing overall operating costs, and further investing in HEMS operations and pre-hospital care.
“We are delighted to unveil our new aircraft, G-OMAA, which has been named in the spirit of our commitment to delivering the very best patient care and our ability to reach a patient within a matter of minutes. It has been a much anticipated and now welcome addition to our fleet.”
The purchase of the new helicopter was only possible thanks to the on going support the charity receives from the general public and local businesses as well as an extremely generous one off legacy, gift in a will, from Mr Derek Bullivant.
Jason Levy, fundraising and marketing director for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, adds: “As part of our commitment to patient care and to mark the arrival of our first purchased helicopter, we plan to extend our operation into the hours of darkness in the forthcoming winter months. This will enable us to fly 12 hours a day all year round, not just during the light summer days. The extension in operating hours will benefit the patient further as we will be able to undertake more patient transfers between lit helipads during the hours of darkness direct to major trauma centres and specialist hospitals across our region.
“Extending our hours of service will come with a cost, which is why today (3rd April) we are launching our ‘GO MAA’ fundraising campaign and are appealing to the public to help us raise an additional £250,000 this year.”
Currently, Midlands Air Ambulance’s three helicopters carry out HEMS missions during daylight hours, up to 12 hours in summer months and eight during winter. As part of the ‘GO MAA’ campaign, the service needs to raise an extra £250,000 to fund air ambulance missions between lit helipads during the hours of darkness.
Jason concludes: “To extend our service we need the public’s support now more than ever, so be a hero and help fund our ‘GO MAA’ campaign, which will ultimately help to save more lives across the Midlands.”
To make a donation to the GO MAA appeal text GMAA01 and your donation amount to 70070. For further information about Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, please call the team on 0800 8 40 20 40 or visit www.midlandsairambulance.com.