Yorkshire Air Ambulance’s pilot Chris Attrill is leaving the rapid response emergency service after a decade of life-saving.
After a period serving in the Australian Army Infantry he came to the UK and ‘fell into flying’ when he joined the Army Air Corps in 1983. “Flying was not part of the original game plan but once I got into the air I knew I had found the right role for me and within two years of joining the British army I was flying,” said Chris, who became an Air Crewman in 1985, completing his Pilots course four years later. A crewman in the army is the best apprenticeship you can have as it’s all the fun without the responsibility – if anything goes wrong it’s the pilot’s fault.”
Chris spent 21 years in the Army serving everywhere from Belize to Bosnia, and from the Falklands to Northern Ireland. After leaving the military he became a HEMS pilot, joining Yorkshire Air Ambulance in October 2008. “Army pilots tend to slip into HEMS flying quite easily as we are used to flying smaller multi-role aircraft into small places,” he added. “You are also part of another very close-knit team. As the air ambulance paramedics all take an aviation module to become Technical Crew Members, it means it really is a team effort. If you need a hand getting the aircraft in and out and refuelling they can help, and if they need a hand on the ground the pilots muck in.”
In line with HEMS rules, which mean single pilots have to retire at 60, Chris has left Yorkshire Air Ambulance but will continue his flying career at Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance which runs dual pilot operations.