The HM Coastguard search and rescue (SAR) helicopter base in Lee-On-Solent will start flying the new Leonardo AW189 helicopter for SAR operations from 1 pm on Friday 31st March.
The new £20 million AW189 helicopters are painted in red and white HM Coastguard colours, and operated by Bristow Helicopters Limited on behalf of HM Coastguard. The Coastguard base at Lee-on-Solent is the first in the UK to fly this new model of helicopter for SAR missions.
The transition to Bristow from the current operator at Lee-on-Solent marks the penultimate step in a staged transition from a mix of 12 military and civilian bases to ten Coastguard SAR helicopter bases in the UK.
Damien Oliver, Assistant Director for Aviation at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said: “We are excited to add these new AW189 helicopters to our Coastguard helicopter fleet. These are some of the most technologically advanced helicopters providing lifesaving services in the world today. The crews that will fly the new helicopters, and the engineers that maintain them, will continue to demonstrate the utmost professionalism and dedication to the work of saving lives here in the south of England.”
Russell Torbet, director of UK SAR at Bristow Helicopters Ltd. said: “We are very pleased that Bristow is returning to Lee-On-Solent which we previously operated on behalf of the Coastguard from 1988 until 2007. Our transition team has been at Lee-On-Solent since January continuing their training on the AW189 and preparing for this handover. They are ready to go.
“The existing Lee-On-Solent crews will commence induction and training with Bristow from the start of April to transition onto the AW189 aircraft type over the coming months. This has been a lot of work for everyone involved and we’re looking forward to introducing the AW189 and continuing this life-saving service in the region.”
The Leonardo AW189 is a larger, more advanced and capable aircraft than the AW139 version currently in operation at Lee-On-Solent. It is the latest generation helicopter in its category and is designed to meet long-range, high endurance requirements for search and rescue missions in the most demanding operational and environmental conditions. Over the next 18 months the AW189 helicopter will be introduced at Coastguard SAR helicopter bases at Prestwick, St Athan, Lydd and Inverness, as part of the £1.9 billion investment by the UK Government in this vital frontline emergency service that rescues or assists around 2,000 people a year.
In 2013, Bristow won the UK Government national contract to deliver SAR operations on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). Seven of 10 strategically located bases took over the helicopter civilian SAR responsibility from the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy in a phased approach throughout 2015 and 2016. The Coastguard bases at Lee-On-Solent, Stornoway and Sumburgh are set to become part of the UK contract by July 2017.
Safety alert details of an incident and lessons learned related to managing newspapers as freight during helideck operations.
CAA Offshore Communication Service and Radio Operator Certificate of Competence Changes to Exam Pass Mark
The examination pass mark for the above has now been increased to 75%.
For information regarding OCS and ROCC as well as approved examiners (including GDO), see the link below:
Two UK air ambulance charities have recently collaborated to create a new post – under the title of Head of Operations, the candidate will be responsible to the CEOs off both organisations. The person taking up this role “will act as a senior member of the charities’ management teams with specific responsibilities for the delivery and ongoing development of the air ambulance operations”.
Thames Valley Air Ambulance and Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance retained Greys Search and Selection to find a candidate to cover the new role. The two are geographically adjacent, and already have ties with each other – it was no coincidence that each upgraded to new EC135T3s (ahead of the type being renamed H135) around the same time, and both contract with Babcock MCS Onshore for the provision of pilots, maintenance spare aircraft etc.
The charities have a long and successful history of cooperation and operationally they work very closely together. Both their aircraft and operating patterns are the same and both services work within the NHS Ambulance Service region (South Central) As a result of this partnership, having one Head of Operations, to oversee both operations and speak with “one voice” to the ambulance service stakeholder, is key.
In the past the charities covering Essex and Hertfordshire combined into a single organisation, but what other possibilities does this raise? Yes, this is just one role, but with the two organisations operating closer together, what other jobs could be merged? Will it one day translate into the two charities merging into one?
Courtesy of the HELP Appeal
Work has started on a £1m helipad at Aintree University Hospital funded by the HELP Appeal, which will give seriously injured patients arriving by air ambulances immediate access to the Emergency Department and specialist treatment .
This new helipad will serve patients from across Cheshire and Merseyside, and will reduce transfer time for patients in critical care; at present air ambulances must land on local playing fields, which can increase transfer times by 30 minutes.
The HELP Appeal is the only charity in the UK providing funding for life-saving helipad from Devon to Scotland and the new Aintree Hospital helipad, will ensure patients are quickly transferred to Aintree’s new state of the art Urgent Care and Trauma Centre.
Specialists at the regional major trauma centre, which brings together teams from Aintree and neuro-surgery experts from The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, say the new helipad will save vital minutes when transferring trauma patients from air ambulance into the hospital.
Robert Bertram, CEO of the HELP Appeal, said: “It is very satisfying to see that work is now starting on this life-saving helipad at Aintree University Hospital, and to see this project get off the ground. As the only charity in the UK providing funding for hospital helipads, we are delighted to be able to donate the full £1 million needed to fund its construction.”
Mrs Sharon Scott, Divisional Medical Director of Surgery and Anaesthesia at Aintree, said:
“The new helipad is fantastic news for our patients. It will make a tremendous difference to them and their families, and it is all possible thanks to the generosity of the HELP Appeal.”
Ms Catherine McMahon, Consultant Neurosurgeon at The Walton Centre, said: “We are excited about the completion of the helipad on the Aintree site which will help cut crucial minutes from the transfer time of patients to the Major Trauma Centre. When you have been the victim of a severe head injury, every minute counts and this new development will help us to reduce morbidity and save lives.”
Mark Evans, Clinical Service Manager at the North West Air Ambulance Charity, said: “Every second counts in matters of severe trauma, which makes helipads like this one so critically important for patients across the region. Its close proximity to the hospital will enhance the lifesaving service we provide, as we will no longer have to rely on a land ambulance to transfer patients to the emergency department.
“Overall, we anticipate that this new addition at Aintree will save around 10-12 minutes per patient – enough to save a life.”
The HELP Appeal has been providing significant grants to fund life-saving helipads around England and Scotland since 2009. The helipad at Aintree, which is being built by BAM Construction, is expected to be fully operational in summer.
Rob Bailey, Construction Manager for BAM, said: “The construction of the helipad at Aintree will bring huge benefits and we are proud to be part of the team to make this happen.”