The £6m Airbus H145 helicopter has taken to the skies over Yorkshire following the completion of crew training and a full medical fit-out.
The first jobs for the crew of the new H145 included a fall from height near Lofthouse, and a horse rider from High Hoyland near Barnsley who required transferring to Leeds General Infirmary for treatment.
It is based at Yorkshire Air Ambulance’s flagship Nostell Air Support Unit near Wakefield.
A second H145 has been ordered from Airbus and will be operational by the end of the year, flying from the rapid response emergency charity’s northern base at RAF Topcliffe, near Thirsk.
The new aircraft offers exceptional flight performance and will have significantly lower operational and maintenance costs.
The H145 is night capable, enabling longer flying hours, and is used by military, police and air rescue services throughout the world.
Yorkshire Air Ambulance has been planning the replacement of its two, ageing MD902 Explorer aircraft for several years. The purchase and fitting out costs have been met through planned savings, grants, careful budgeting and the amazing generosity of the people of Yorkshire.
YAA Chairman Peter Sunderland said: “It was a hugely exciting and very proud day for us and the people of Yorkshire.
“This helicopter belongs to the people of Yorkshire and will do for the next 20 to 25 years.
“I am very proud to say we now have a level of service which is probably the best of any air ambulance charity in the UK.”