Devon Air Ambulance (DAA) has ordered an Airbus H145 to replace the EC135 that is currently flying for the charity from Umberleigh in north Devon. It is expected to enter service from DAA's Exeter base in mid-2020.
CEO Helena Holt says: “We aim to replace our helicopters every 10 years and have undertaken extensive research into what would be the best helicopter to meet our current and future operational needs. We are fortunate to have extremely knowledgeable flight operations and clinical staff, and over the last 18 months they have been engaged in looking at the options available. This not only includes the airframe itself, but also the state-of-the-art interior and medical equipment we can carry.
“Our main consideration is to provide the best care to our patients and this has been uppermost in our minds when looking at the new helicopters available. We feel that the H145 is perfect for our needs as it has significantly more accessible cabin space than our EC135. This extra size offers us greater capacity and flexibility as we continue to enhance the service we can offer to our patients.
“An added benefit is that our existing Exeter aircraft, another EC135, will move to our north Devon airbase, thereby meaning that both our aircraft will be capable of flying during hours of darkness when we look to extend this part of our service.”
As DAA owns both its aircraft the cost of the H145, which is in the region of 8.5 million euros, will be offset by the sale of the outgoing EC135.
“A successful, mature product, the H145 is manufactured by the same organisation as our EC135s, so in addition to benefitting from improvements in operational performance we will be able to build further upon the strong working relationship we have developed with Airbus over many years," explains flight ops director Ian Payne. “As a result, there are clear opportunities for future fleet harmonisation, bringing efficiencies in operational planning, logistic and engineering support, training and aircraft safety.”