Yorkshire Air Ambulance confirm upgrade of existing helicopter fleet
The Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) has confirmed it will be replacing its current Airbus H145 D2 helicopters with the next generation aircraft by the end of summer 2023. The YAA will be the first organisation in the UK to receive the brand new, 5-bladed H145 D3 model.
The two current YAA helicopters, G-YAAC and G-YOAA, which came into service in 2016, will be replaced by a more advanced and state-of-the-art version of their current model, the Airbus H145. The decision to replace the helicopters is to ensure the people of Yorkshire receive the best operational and medical service from the life-saving charity.
Steve Waudby, Director of Aviation explains: “Our two current helicopters, G-YAAC and G-YOAA have served us well since 2016 and will continue to do so for another few years. However, the typical effective lifespan of an air ambulance helicopter is somewhere between seven to ten years, so we are placing a timely order now for delivery in 2023, whilst taking advantage of early Airbus production line slots, as this helicopter has become very popular within the air ambulance community. There have also been a lot of advancements made to the H145 since we bought our current aircraft – both technically in the cockpit, and medically with regards to the equipment we carry. We had the choice to look at retrospectively fitting these technological advancements or upgrading to brand-new helicopters that include everything as part of their specification. Given the complexities of helicopter mechanics, we would have also faced a longer lead time with having everything retrospectively fitted rather than buying new, so it was sensible for the Charity to upgrade the helicopters for new ones.”
The first of the two new helicopters is expected to arrive in Yorkshire in Spring 2023, with the second following shortly after in Summer 2023.
Steve added: “If we had taken the decision to retrospectively fit all the extra technology and equipment we needed, by the time that had been completed we’d have been at a point where we would have been starting to look at replacing our current helicopters. Bringing our plans forward by a year or two means we get best value, as well as bringing two even better state-of-the-art helicopters to the people of Yorkshire.”