THE Midlands Air Ambulance Charity has officially unveiled a new helicopter – the first one it has owned in its 23-year history.
Until now, each of the four helicopters in operation was leased from Bond Air Services. However the new £4.5 million chopper will be wholly owned by the charity, which has one base in Tatenhill, meaning that it will be able to fly 12 hours a day, all year round.
The purchase of the new helicopter will allow pilots to fly in the hours of darkness, which is particularly useful during the winter months. Previously they were only allowed to fly the leased helicopters on lighter, summer days.
The aircraft, which is named G-OMMA, was funded by the ongoing support the charity receives from the public and local businesses, as well as generous legacy gift in a will fron Mr Derek Bullivant.
However, further donations are now being sought to make sure the out of hours service can operate with maximum effectiveness. The charity are looking to raise a further £250,000 this year which will cover additional costs through their ‘GO MMA’ campaign. This includes funding lit helipads for missions during the hours of darkness.
Hanna Sebright, chief executive for the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity said: “The decision to purchase our own helicopter outright was made as part of our strategic plan to strengthen our long-term sustainability by reducing overall operating costs.
“We are delighted to unveil our new aircraft, G-OMAA, which has been named in the spirit of our commitment to delivering the very best patient care and our ability to reach a patient within a matter of minutes. It has been a much anticipated and now welcome addition to our fleet.”
Jason Levy, fundraising and marketing director for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, added: “The extension in operating hours will benefit the patient further as we will be able to undertake more patient transfers during the hours of darkness direct to major trauma centres and specialist hospitals across our region.”
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity can do so by texting GMAA01 and your donation amount to 70070.