Flight medics receive pilot training

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) has revealed that its paramedics and pilots recently put their flying skills to the test by training in a helicopter flight simulator. The crew visited Royal Air Force base RAF Linton-on-Ouse during a bi-monthly clinical governance day, with the aim being to help the paramedics learn how to safely land a helicopter in the event of an emergency.

Tim West, a paramedic with the UK-based HEMS charity, said: “Our helicopters have dual controls, so if for any reason the pilot is out of action we can take over and try to make a safe crash landing. The chances are obviously minimal, but it pays to be prepared.” He explained: “Drones have become a big risk, as when we’re up in the air we might encounter a drone which could crash through the window and incapacitate the pilot. Other circumstances could be that the pilot has fainted or had a medical collapse, so we’ll have to handle the controls and safely manoeuvre a helicopter to land it. The training has helped us familiarise ourselves with the controls a bit more.”

Fellow GNAAS paramedic Jamie Walsh said: “We use the clinical governance days to review recent cases, update our clinical training, and look at new clinical developments. The flight simulation training was a good experience, and I was impressed by how life like the simulator was compared to a helicopter. Even though it is a simulator you still tense up when you’re doing it, especially because there are 20 people around you watching what you’re doing, but it was good fun.

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