The Dauphin N3 is based at GNAAS’ base in Langwathby near Penrith and will enable the charity’s critical care team to reach more patients across the region thanks to its upgraded power and versatility. In its first weekend of service, the Pride of Cumbria II, which is expected to serve the county for around 15 years, was able to travel to three consecutive incidents in Cumbria, Scotland and Northumberland before needing to refuel – something that would never have been possible in the previous aircraft.
GNAAS Doctor, Angus Mitchell, said: “We’ve definitely seen things pick up the past month, so it really is great that we’ve had the new aircraft there and ready for those that need it most. At this extremely busy time of year in Cumbria, the new helicopter is definitely being put to good use.
“The arrival of the Pride of Cumbria II is overdue and everyone I have spoken to has said we’re set to be busier than ever this summer especially if this weather continues.”
Ready for a busy summer
The helicopter attended 10 incidents over the May bank holiday weekend after starting work and since then, the team has had a further 54 jobs on the new aircraft.
GNAAS Pilot, Phil Lambert, said: “The new aircraft is great to fly and 100 per cent making a difference because at least twice a week we’re flying to three jobs one after another. When I first started flying the new helicopter, it was a bit like a new car and I had to learn where everything was but now I am used to it – it’s so powerful.
“I live in the lakes, and I can already see how busier everywhere is. It’s set to be a busy summer and we can already see a huge difference in the number of incidents we’re attending.”
On the same weekend that the Pride of Cumbria II began work, the charity also launched a night-time service in Cumbria to cover 24 hours a day on both Friday and Saturday.