We are thrilled to honour the extraordinary contributions of Air Ambulance Pilots. In particular, we want to highlight the outstanding achievements of the Pilot of the Year from our Annual Conference & Awards Evening: Captain Russell Myles from  Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance!


SCAA Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance Pilot Captain Russell Myles
Picture by Graeme Hart.
Copyright Perthshire Picture Agency
Tel: 01738 623350 Mobile: 07990 594431


We asked Captain Russell Myles a series of questions regarding his experiences as a pilot in HEMS:


What inspired you to pursue a career in air ambulance piloting?

I’ve flown all sorts of stuff, both fixed wing and helicopter, and onshore helicopter field gives a lot of variety, with every day being different, just like being back in the military. After leaving the airlines I started on the Police helicopter in Glasgow, then moved to the mixed Police/Ambulance roster which was perfect. I lost my medical for a year after surgery and chemotherapy, and kind of felt that I owed the NHS something. I got my medical back and when there were whispers of a new startup ambulance operation I threw my hat in the ring early…I’ve been with SCAA at Perth since before the start.


Can you describe a typical day or shift in your role as an air ambulance pilot?

There is no typical day. Every day is different, every job is different, every landing site is different. That’s what keeps it interesting. At start of shift I quickly check the weather and NOTAMS, just in case we get called out early. Then over to the hangar to preflight the aircraft and position it to the spot. Fuel checks for the bowser and then back into the office for a coffee and to prepare the crew brief. The brief includes weather, the state of the aircraft, NOTAMS and military flying, crew currencies and a role brief. We finish with a discussion of an aircraft emergency. After that, an aircraft ground run to wash the engines and check all the systems. And then, we wait…


What are the main challenges you encounter while flying?

We cover the whole of Scotland from Orkney to the Western Isles, and occasionally find ourselves as far south as Newcastle or Carlisle. Covering a huge area means that there can be a wide variety of weather encountered during one mission, and the large distances involved mean that fuel is always a factor. We do not run out to the aircraft when the bell goes – we take a few moments to see where we’re going, what the weather is like over the route and whether we need to top up the fuel to max.


What do you find most rewarding about your role? 

The variety. Every day is different, with its own challenges. Some days we are non-stop, some days we don’t fly. There is always study and admin to do so it’s not boring.


What recommendations or advice would you offer to young people aspiring to work within HEMS?

Get extensive onshore experience as a helicopter pilot. The best way to do this is via the military – excellent training, variety and a lot of flying. It’s not the only route, the other pilot at Perth was a helicopter instructor and then flew on the North Sea for several years. One size doesn’t fit all, sometimes you can be at the right place in the right time. Enthusiasm counts for a lot.


Unveiling the Reasons Behind Captain Russ Myles Award

WINNER: Captain Russ Myles, Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance

Russ played a pivotal role in establishing Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance, leveraging his extensive flying experience to create an operation tailored for Scotland’s unique environment. Over a decade, Russ‘s exceptional flying skills have impacted countless lives, navigating through Scotland’s challenging weather conditions and terrain.

His expertise and dedication have served as a lifeline for numerous families, earning admiration from fellow pilots for his mentorship, patience, and outstanding skill in handling aircraft in Scotland’s demanding weather conditions.