Our new helicopter, G-TVLY, has finally been unveiled to the public. The Airbus135 will become our air ambulance when we take on our air operations this month. It is kitted out with the same lifesaving equipment as our former helicopter and will fly from our operations base at RAF Benson.
We unveiled the helicopter at White Waltham airfield where we were founded 23 years ago, in the same month as the fourth anniversary of our move to become an independent healthcare provider.
Our charity exists to give everybody in our community the best chance of surviving and recovering from an emergency. Every decision we make as charity has our critically ill and injured patients at its heart.
“This next step in our evolution as an independent healthcare provider was necessary to ensure we can continue to deliver the absolute best critical care to the people we treat. They deserve the very best, in their moment of need.”
Amanda McLean, CEO at Thames Valley Air Ambulance
Bringing the aviation operations in-house means we will be directly and legally responsible for all aspects of our operating approvals, and for the compliance and safety of the flight operations and the associated aircraft airworthiness management of the aircraft. This will give us the power and flexibility to make decisions about the aircraft based on our own data and working to our own timelines.
G-TVLY has a top speed of 135mph and, after take-off, will continue to enable Thames Valley Air Ambulance crews to reach any part of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire within 15 minutes. It has been modified to meet the needs of critical care including stripping out unnecessary weight, such as unused cabling, so the aircraft is lighter and more fuel efficient. It also has state-of-the-art avionics, including flight management computers with digital mapping – much like you would find in a car sat nav. Once airborne it requires an area the size of two tennis courts to land safely.
Having our own helicopter is part of Thames Valley Air Ambulance’s long-term strategy to ensure we can continue to put patients at the heart of everything we do. This is an exciting milestone in the history of the charity and one which simply couldn’t have happened without the support of the communities we serve.
Our charity receives no regular Government or National Lottery funding and relies solely on the generosity of our supporters to keep our helicopter in the skies, as well as five Critical Care Response Vehicles on the road. On average Thames Valley Air Ambulance is called out seven times a day reaching some of the most critically ill patients in the area.
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