Henley Air is a family-owned and managed helicopter company that has provided helicopter-related services to the South African market for over 22 years. The company has executed lifesaving missions such as transportation prior to surgery or organ transplant with a range of Bell products, such as the Bell 222 UT, which provides a long-range flight capability in excess of 320 nautical miles.
As a uniquely non-aligned HEMS provider, Henley Air offers its helicopter ambulance service to key hospitals in the country and has been involved in numerous lifesaving missions with Bell helicopters. Three months ago, Henley Air rescued a young boy injured in a motorcycle accident in Swaziland, a neighbouring Country land locked by South Africa. With no facilities around the area, Henley Air were able to stabilize the patient and transport him to a suitable facility.
Another critical patient was flown over 900 nautical miles with a broken back, rescued from a remote hiking location, to a hospital equipped to support his needs. Henley Air pilots supported said mission by flying over four South African provinces in a 10-hour mission.
Only SACAA approved Bell 222 in service
“In addition to working with some of the most prominent names in the country, Henley Air also boasts the only South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) approved and certified Bell 222 simulator. As the only one in the world, it keeps our crews fully prepared for any situation and/or mission. This coupled with a sizeable inventory of spare parts ensures that we can be up and running in the least amount of time to serve any kind of patient,” added Dippenaar.
Henley Air pilots typically work a 12-hour shift starting at either 06:00 or 18:00 hrs and comprise of experienced and qualified personnel in South Africa. All pilots must conform to six-monthly Operator Proficiency Checks, annual line checks and licence revalidations, ensuring that Henley Air keeps the standard of its operations at the highest level.
On hand to meet patients needs in a short amount of time
Boeta Dippenaar, Chief Pilot, said: “Henley Air has partnered with some of the biggest hospital chains in South Africa. As an independent HEMS provider, we are hopeful that our services will be used to help people in the country that are looking for access to quick and reliable emergency services. We have ensured that our fleet maintains a 98 per cent serviceability rate, meaning that we are on hand to meet all our patients needs in the shortest amount of time.”
Emergency services are categorized depending on their level of importance. For instance, Henley Air was requested to fly out to a remote area of the country to aid a patient who had been in an accident. Alternatively, the fleet has been used for transportation of a patient from one hospital to another in need of the appropriate medical care. Given the vast area of South Africa and the distances between some hospitals, Inter-Hospital Transfer are not uncommon.