The YAA will be the first organisation in the UK to receive the brand new, five-bladed H145 D3 model. The two current YAA helicopters, G-YAAC and G-YOAA, which came into service in 2016, will be replaced by a more advanced version of their current model, the Airbus H145. The decision to replace the helicopters was made to ensure the people of Yorkshire receive the best operational and medical service from the life-saving charity. The first of the two new helicopters is expected to arrive in Yorkshire in Spring 2023, with the second following shortly after in Summer 2023.
Steve Waudby, Director of Aviation for YAA, said: “If we had taken the decision to retrospectively fit all the extra technology and equipment we needed, by the time that had been completed we’d have been at a point where we would have been starting to look at replacing our current helicopters. Bringing our plans forward by a year or two means we get best value, as well as bringing two even better state-of-the-art helicopters to the people of Yorkshire.”
A smoother flight for crew and patients
Advancements to the new model includes a five-bladed rotor head that will provide a smoother flight for the crew and patients, onboard wifi to allow patient records to be updated inflight, and a cutting-edge secure communications system that will allow the crew to send patient data ahead to their destination hospital, allowing doctors and nurses to start evaluating and assessing the patient before they arrive. There will also be an improved medical fit alongside some of the most advanced and innovative equipment for treating patients at scene and in-flight.
Peter Sunderland, Chairman of the YAA, commented: “We are delighted to be able to announce our plans for these new helicopters. The H145 has become the most popular new aircraft globally and we are very much looking forward to welcoming the two new models to Yorkshire in Spring and Summer of 2023. Our current H145 D2 helicopters have served us well, so there was no question about considering other makes or models – it is fast becoming the air ambulance helicopter of choice within the air ambulance sector.”
The new helicopters, complete with full medical fit-out, will cost approximately £15.3 million, which is being funded through careful financial planning and reserves. Current aircraft G-YAAC and G-YOAA will be sold to offset some of these costs.