Notts: Air Ambulance to begin night flying

The Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire Air Ambulance will now be able to save more lives at night after being given the go ahead to perform flights in the dark.
Lincs and Notts Air AmbulanceLincs and Notts Air Ambulance
Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance

The air ambulance and its crew has undergone extensive training to offer crucial emergency support during a night time environment.

Night missions are something the air ambulance has not been able to do in the past.

But the new night flight operations have now gone live, with the service already performing a number of airlifts following the green light by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Captain Paul Smith, chief pilot, said: “While night flying will be challenging, it is a natural and necessary step for us to be able to provide round the clock emergency support to people across Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.”

“The crews have been training for night flying operations for the last 18 months with both the chief pilot and deputy chief pilot already experienced in night-flying.”

“During the past 12 months, the charity has seen a steady increase in the number of medical emergencies that it attends – a pattern it expects to continue for the foreseeable future.”

In order to fly at night, the MD902 Explorer helicopter had to be fitted with special instruments and equipment including a radar altimeter and night sun technology for use with night vision goggles.

The Air Ambulance then had to get approval from the Civil Aviation Authority and Medical Aviation Services.

The first night flying mission took place on 18th December, when the helicopter attended a serious road traffic accident near Market Rasen.

This year will also mark the 20th anniversary of the service first starting operations in April 1994.

The air ambulance helicopter is based at RAF Waddingham, south of Lincoln, and flies around 1,000 missions each year.