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Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire air ambulance takes on first night flights

Posted in: Personal Injury 

Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire air ambulance service has modified their helicopters to allow the operation of overnight emergency flights. Night vision equipment has been installed, enabling crews to fly until 19:00 GMT throughout winter – an additional three hours to normal flight times. The charity behind the air ambulance service said that many more lives would be saved as a result.

Before changes were made to the helicopters, the service was only able to operate until 16:00 GMT between the months of October and February. The RAF Waddington-based service began emergency flights in April 1994, with the promise that flight times would be increased every year by 480 hours. 

Night vision goggles

The staff have recently completed a “rigorous” training programme – tackling the dangers of flying at night – which has allowed the provision of clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority to fly in the dark. Alongside intense training, crew have also been equipped with night vision goggles.

The MD902 Explorer helicopter has been fitted with an additional radar altimeter and searchlight to increase searching efficiency. The helicopters are able to travel at 140mph and can provide specialist trauma treatment to patients at the scene of the accident.

Pilot Cpt Paul Smith said: “While night flying will be challenging, it is a natural and necessary step for us to be able to provide round the clock emergency support to people across Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.

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