With thanks to a generous donation from the HELP Appeal, new helipad lighting has recently been installed at three different landing sites frequently used by the life-saving crew at Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance.
A total of £69,000 was donated by the HELP Appeal, the only charity in the country dedicated to funding hospital and air ambulance helipads, which has fully funded the installation and upgrade of helipad lights at the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance airbase at RAF Waddington, Fenland Airfield in South Lincolnshire, and Nottingham Airport (Tollerton).
The installation of these new lights will prove to be an invaluable addition for the crew on board the helicopter, who regularly use these landing sites when responding to some of the most critically ill and seriously injured patients across Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. The state-of-the-art landing lights has made each site significantly more visible during the event of low visibility and landing at night; vital in the Charity’s recent move to 24/7 operations.
Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the HELP Appeal, recently paid a visit to the upgraded facility at the Charity’s airbase at RAF Waddington. He was joined by members of the crew from the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance and their iconic AgustaWestland 169 helicopter.
Robert said: “We are delighted to be able to support the life-saving work of the air ambulance and despite fewer daylight hours during winter, Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance will now be able to treat patients at incidents in Lincolnshire or Nottinghamshire after dark. The crew can then rapidly transfer patients in urgent need of specialist care to hospital and return to land safely on their newly illuminated helipads.”
Llewis Ingamells, Chief Pilot at Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, added that these lights would ensure the safety of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service crew and increase the capabilities of the service they provide.
He said: “Having these new modern night landing aids not only gives us lit landing sites for aircraft refuelling during the hours of darkness at targeted locations, but it provides us with lit diversion destinations for weather or planning around one of the largest response areas; 3,500 square miles, covered by any single Air Ambulance in the UK.
“The introduction of Night Vision Goggles has required an update of technology not just in the aircraft but to the ground infrastructure to support our 24/7 operations. These lights bring the latest technology with infrared lighting for night vision goggles, pilot-controlled functionality, all whilst offsetting our carbon footprint with 100% solar technology.
“We extend a huge thank you to HELP Appeal for the funding of these fantastic lights, FEC for constructing and installing them, and our friends at Fenland Airfield and Nottingham Airport for their continued and increasing support for our 24-hour operations.”
As of this month, the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance is now operating a 24/7 service. Along with the ongoing support of the local community, these state-of-the-art lighting upgrades at the Charity’s most frequent landing sites has helped to support this incredible development for the local Air Ambulance, who are now able to respond to emergencies 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.
Karen Jobling, Chief Executive Officer at Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, said: “We are truly grateful for the support of the HELP Appeal and this generous donation, which has enabled us to upgrade our helipad lights across our most frequent landing sites. As a Charity, we receive no direct Government funding, meaning that our life-saving work is only possible with thanks to the generosity and support of our local community.
“There is no doubt that the installation of these new lights will help drastically when our crew take on even more life-saving missions in the hours of darkness. We know that patients can become seriously ill or injured at any time of the day or night, and by operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, we hope to be able to treat approximately 400 additional patients every single year.
“This new state-of-the-art lighting system will allow us to land, no matter what time of day, so that our patients can receive the best possible treatment as quickly as possible.”