Yorkshire Air Ambulance achieves NVIS status

(left to right) Cpt Garry Brasher, YAA pilot; Paddy Connelly, CAA flight operations inspector; Cpt Andy Hall, YAA chief pilot; Lee Greenwood, YAA paramedic

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance has been granted approval from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to commence NVIS (Night Vision Imaging System) operations with immediate effect, the helicopter charity has announced.

Following a visit from CAA Flight Operations Inspector Paddy Connelly in early September, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance was granted approval to extend its operational hours into darkness.

The HEMS provider, which operates two fully night-capable Airbus H145 helicopters, said it will now be available to respond to incidents from 06:00 hrs until midnight during the week and until 20:00 hrs on weekends initially, with crews wearing night-vision goggles.

Captain Andy Lister, Yorkshire Air Ambulance director of aviation, commented: “This really is a great step forward in the operational developments of the YAA. Our pilots and crews have worked extremely hard over the last few months to undertake and learn the processes involved in NVIS flying. It is a complex process for our operational team to have embarked on, however I am pleased to report that we now have a fully capable NVIS team at the YAA. I am very proud of them all, and know we are moving forward together to provide the best possible service for the people of Yorkshire.”

He continued: “The YAA will commence NVIS operations with immediate effect, now we have been granted approval by the CAA. This will mean our crew will be operational for longer periods each day, enabling them to respond to incidents into the hours of darkness. This will be particularly beneficial in the winter months, when the nights come in much quicker. Our pilots and navigational crew will wear the NVIS goggles in the front of the helicopter, which will enable them to identify any hazards or obstacles when approaching a landing site.”

YAA said it has a number of paramedics already NVIS approved, and is continuing to train the rest of the crew – it expects to have everyone approved for NVIS operations by the end of October, when it will become a fully night-capable operator.

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