This month Wales Air Ambulance completed its new fleet of advanced aircraft, with its North Wales helicopter landing at its home in Caernarfon. This state-of-the-art air ambulance is the third and final Airbus H145 T2 to join the charity’s new fleet, replacing three of Wales Air Ambulance’s EC135s to complete emergency medical missions across Wales.
As the new fleet of H145s flies across Wales, WAA Operation Manager Mark Winter talks us through some of the key benefits of the new H145 aircraft:
1) The new H145s are the biggest aircraft Wales Air Ambulance has had in its history, weighing in at 1919kg when empty – the equivalent of four race horses.
The advanced aircraft weighs several tonnes with the addition of the crew’s pioneering kit, five seats and ergonomic storage.
Mark Winter said: “A huge difference for our crews. With the introduction of consultants and critical care practitioners at WAA, our medics carry a sophisticated range of kit for advanced treatments. We have a customised storage system specifically for our Welsh flying medics so they can access all their kit precisely when they need to.”
2) The fleet carry two powerful turboshaft engines and larger fuel tanks enable crews to fly longer without refuelling.
“This gives us an extra margin on journeys, such as when we have to divert on a mission due to adverse weather.
“Fuel weight has to be factored into the weight of every mission, so the more we can carry the further we can go,” said Mark Winter.
3) Each Wales Air Ambulance’s new aircraft carry two engines, with each 561-shaft horse power – meaning that each lifesaving aircraft flies at a total of 1122 shaft horse power.
With two engines on board, the aircraft can still fly even if one engine is shut down.
4) The lifesaving crew can now bring more oxygen to the roadside, as the H145s has increased oxygen capacity.
Mark Winter said: “We can carry an extra 600 litres of oxygen on a flight.”
5) Due to the positioning of the charity’s airbases across Wales and the speed of the its lifesaving aircraft, the Wales Air Ambulance can be anywhere in Wales within 20 minutes.
The H145s can fly at a speed of 130 knots, which is 150mph.
“We fly to missions where time really matters, so a more powerful aircraft helps to keep us within the Golden Hour,” Mark added.
6) Wales Air Ambulance’s previous aircraft, the EC135, had four seats for medical crew. The charity’s new aircraft has five seats, allowing room for family members during some missions.
Mark Winter said: ““This allows for additional passengers, such as specialist medical crew or a patient’s relative if appropriate.”
7) On board the lifesaving aircraft, a high-speed internet connection will enable crews to communicate vital information to hospitals directly from WAA’s medical equipment while en route from the scene.
8) Patients will be lifted into the new aircraft on a customised stretcher system.
Mark Winter: “Our new stretcher can be wheeled out of the aircraft and directly into the hospital. There are customised brackets around the stretcher to fix the crews’ specialist equipment to it when moving patients.
“We also have a unique locking system on the stretcher, which was conceptualised by Welsh flying medic Rhyan Curtis. To cater for missions in rural areas and muddy fields, Rhyan worked with Swiss aviation manufacturers to design a mechanism which will prevent the stretcher’s wheels from getting stuck on difficult terrain.”
9) Inside the aircraft, pioneering bracket systems have been installed for the crew’s medical equipment during flight.
“Wales’ flying medics have some of the most advanced kit in the UK, so we worked with designers create unique systems to secure this kit into the aircraft. The ventilator operates on a pulley, so it can be moved across the ceiling of the cabin. Our Tempus Pro Monitor, which wirelessly transmits diagnostics to hospital teams, is the only one in the UK; so we’ve led the way in designing a bespoke bracket to secure and use this kit in the cabin of an air ambulance.
“The bracket systems also makes rotating and charging equipment easier. We can even charge kit in the helicopter, so it’s ready to go as soon as we get that 999 call – saving time and reaching patients even faster,” added Mark.
10) Not only is Wales Air Ambulance the largest air ambulance operation in the UK, flying across Wales to deliver lifesaving medical intervention at the scene before flying patients to the care they need – but WAA also has the largest fleet of H145 in the UK.
Leave a Comment