Cornwall Air Ambulance launches appeal for second AW169

Cornwall Air Ambulance flight crew with AW169 helicopter.
Photo Credit: Cornwall Air Ambulance

In a bid to expand its lifesaving capabilities, Cornwall Air Ambulance has launched the Heli 2 Appeal, a fundraising initiative with the primary goal of acquiring a second AW169 helicopter.

This initiative aims to elevate the charity’s operational capabilities to cater to the needs of over 1,000 seriously ill or injured patients annually.

The Heli 2 appeal, set to run from November 20, 2023, until the end of December 2024, seeks to raise £2.85 million to facilitate the purchase of this second high-specification aircraft.

The Urgency for a Second Aircraft

The current demands on Cornwall Air Ambulance’s single helicopter have been unprecedented. Introducing a second AW169 will not only bolster the charity’s resilience but also enhance its availability, enabling the operation of two aircraft simultaneously during peak demand periods.

This increased capacity holds the promise of flying hundreds of extra missions, ultimately saving more lives across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

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Extending Critical Care: 19 Hours a Day, 365 Days a Year

The vision behind acquiring a second AW169 helicopter revolves around ensuring the continuous delivery of critical care services by air.

Cornwall Air Ambulance aspires to operate at full throttle, providing assistance for 19 hours a day, 365 days a year.

While the charity will maintain a single helicopter service, the presence of a second, identical aircraft ensures readiness during planned or unplanned maintenance, significantly elevating overall availability and resilience.

The AW169 Edge

Owning two AW169 helicopters grants Cornwall Air Ambulance a distinct operational advantage. Currently, during the annual maintenance of the primary helicopter, the charity resorts to leasing a backup AW109 aircraft.

However, the AW169, being far more advanced and capable, enables the charity to field the best possible crew, equipped with top-notch gear, on all missions.

This translates to the ability to attend to even more patients by air, ultimately contributing to a higher rate of lives saved.

Chief Executive’s Vision

Tim Bunting, the Chief Executive, recognizes the significance of this moment for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. He emphasizes the aim to enhance service provision, especially during record-busy months.

Bunting acknowledges the economic challenges but expresses gratitude for the generous donors who have already contributed a substantial portion of the £10 million required for the second helicopter.

The Heli 2 Appeal is set to secure the remaining £2.85 million by the end of December next year.

Chief Pilot’s Perspective

Chief Pilot Adam Smith sheds light on the safety benefits of owning a second AW169. Operating a single type of helicopter eliminates the need for additional pilot training hours in different aircraft.

The second helicopter, equipped with advanced lighting for enhanced night awareness, lower empty weight, and superior navigation capabilities, positions the air ambulance team to respond efficiently to missions, ensuring continuous service day and night.

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