New community landing sites for Devon Air Ambulance

Communities in Kingskerswell and North Bovey are both proud to launch new community landing sites for Devon Air Ambulance

The Devon Air Ambulance (DAA) Community Landing Site Network enters an exciting new phase for Autumn 2023 and this week, two more sites in Kingskerswell & North Bovey became operational.

DAA’s network of 196 surveyed floodlit landing sites have enabled their aircraft to land in many towns & villages across Devon during the ‘hours of darkness’ enabling their critical care clinicians to reach patients quickly and safely when minutes really do matter.

From left to right Cllr Tania Elston, Cllr Janet Carter, Cllr Steve Talbot, Cara Hill (Parish Council Admin) with Graham Coates, Landing Site Manager for Devon Air Ambulance

After six years of developing this vital network of sites across the county, the project is moving into a new phase as the charity is now able to establish Community Landing Sites that do not need floodlighting to land.

Graham Coates, Landing Site Manager at DAA said,

“We have recently completed an extensive review of our night flying operations including pilot training, new advances in technology onboard our aircraft and night vision goggle (NVG) use whilst in flight. In addition, we have also looked at how these advancements can help us to attend more patients, ensuring we can get to them as quickly and as safely as possible.

With all these factors in mind, and in consultation with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), we have been able to assess the feasibility of landing at Community Landing Sites without the use of lights and I am pleased to announce that going forward floodlighting will not be required at our landing site locations.”

As a result, two local communities have been able to take advantage of this review and became operational this month without the need for the installation of a lighting column.

Communities in Kingskerswell and North Bovey now have a pre-surveyed Devon Air Ambulance landing site which may be utilised by the charity during the hours of darkness. Kingskerswell Parish Council & North Bovey Parish Council have both been instrumental in bringing these projects to completion.

Cllr John Radford, Kingskerswell Parish Council Chair said,

“We’re delighted that the playing fields are now officially a Devon Air Ambulance night time landing spot. We are hoping that it never has to be used but with the site now operational it could potentially be lifesaving to anyone needing it in the surrounding area, something we as the parish council are proud to be able to offer the community!”

The site in North Bovey has required the teamwork of the North Bovey Parish Council, Exeter Diocese, and the tenant of the landing site field to bring the project to fruition. As community partnerships go, this landing site ticked a lot of boxes and is a credit to all involved.

Cllr Sally Button of North Bovey Parish Council said,

“We’ve been working with DAA for a number of years now to get a site operational in North Bovey and we’re delighted that the project has been completed and we now have a landing site for our community.”

Graham Coates went on to say: “I would like to extend a huge thank you to all the organisations involved in both landing sites for all their efforts in making these landing sites operational. Kingskerswell and North Bovey are our first community landing sites without lighting columns, and I am looking forward to launching many more in communities across Devon which will be of huge benefit to those who need our emergency critical care in the future”.