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New Devon Air Ambulance helicopter touches down in Devon for the first time

A new generation helicopter landed in Exeter airport for the first time last month.

The new helicopter arrived at Exeter as part of a training flight from the Airbus Helicopters UK facility in Oxfordshire, where the aircraft is currently based. Devon Air Ambulance (DAA) formally accepted the new H145 and its pilots have been undertaking extensive training on the new aircraft.

The flight into Exeter forms part of a three-week training programme which includes classroom-based theory, ‘visual’ and ‘instrument’ flight training containing a mixture of proficiency and flight skills tests and a theory exam.

DAA Flight Operations Director Ian Payne said,

It’s fantastic to see our new H145 helicopter flying into Devon for the first time, it marks the culmination of several years of hard work and development to get the very best aircraft for the people of Devon.

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.

Despite the impact of Coronavirus, the new aircraft was delivered on time by Airbus Helicopters UK and we’d like to extend our thanks to the whole team at Airbus for their support and attention to detail throughout the project lifecycle.

Gary Clark, Head of Civil Business, 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.

Ian Payne added:

All of this crew training will need to be delivered whilst we remain operational from 7am to 2am, 19 hours a day, so we expect it’s going to be a very busy time as we build up to the point of introducing the new aircraft into service during the autumn.

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.

Image credit: Devon Air Ambulance

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