Childhood dream turns into reality as Louth man prepares to join Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance crew

A boyhood dream will become a reality for a Louth area man as he takes the controls of one of Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance's new helicopters.
Llewis IngamellsLlewis Ingamells
Llewis Ingamells

Llewis Ingamells, from Utterby, will join Chief Pilot Paul Smith, Pilot Tim Taylor and fellow newcomer Anna Loake in piloting the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance’s new aircraft.

The charity has taken the bold decision to upgrade its MD902 Explorer helicopter to a-state-of the art AgustaWestland 169. This aircraft is faster with a top speed of 190mph; it is bigger, giving the crew unobstructed 360-degree access to the patient in flight; and it has greater endurance meaning it can fly for longer before needing to refuel. The aircraft will positively impact upon the critical pre-hospital care that our crew can deliver at the scene of an incident or accident.

The new helicopter will become operational this spring. The move will see the need for two additional co-pilots to join the crew, making local pilot Llewis’ childhood dream come true.

Llewis said: “I had an interview with Captain Paul Smith and CEO Karen Jobling. This was perhaps, for me the most important interview of my life. Ask any helicopter pilot what their dream would be and 90% would say a job with the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, but to fly for your local air ambulance and serve the people of your home county is about as big of a privilege as there can be to me. It will be a very proud moment to don the flight suit of the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance. I feel incredibly lucky to be given the opportunity. To do what you love is incredible but to do it while helping others is absolutely amazing.”

Paul added: “Llewis brings with him the inspiring level of enthusiasm and energy required to gain the sort of experience he has within a very demanding industry. I’m confident that with his passion, humour and experience he is going to fit very well into our tight knit crew. The position Llewis will fill was extremely sought after, however he was the obvious choice for the role and I’m really looking forward to bringing him into the team here at Lincs Notts Air Ambulance.”

As a child, Llewis was always fascinated with flight, particularly helicopters and the idea of hovering or levitating. During his childhood, he built many radio-controlled aircraft but it wasn’t until a few years later that he came face to face with the real thing.

At 13-years-old he attended Waddington Air Show and spoke to the then Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance Pilot George Phillips. It was that chance meeting that led to Llewis’ first helicopter flight that very afternoon in a Bell 206 Jet Ranger – an aircraft he would one day go on to pilot himself. On that day, Lewis’ childhood dream to become a pilot for the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance was born.

Llewis explained: “It wasn’t until I spoke to George during the air show where the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance’s helicopter was on static display, that I realised a flying career could be an option for me. Chatting with him I was told that the Charity’s pilots were civilian pilots and that the operation was not part of the military as I had thought. I decided there and then that this was what I wanted to do when I left school.”

Upon leaving school Llewis went on to train as a commercial helicopter pilot and flight instructor. He then worked as a commercial pilot across England, Scotland and Europe, which allowed him to gain invaluable experience in some of the harshest weather conditions he has ever had to fly in. He went on to work as a relief pilot for various Helicopter Emergency Medical Services before taking up a role to Captain the Humberside Police Helicopter.