The Civil Aviation Authority has granted permission to Yorkshire Air Ambulance to carry out their medical flight service operations at night. The approval was given after the air ambulance charity underwent an inspection to determine their capability to carry out night flights. They will now be able to extend their hours of operation.
Two Helicopters for Night Flights
Yorkshire Air Ambulance will be using their two helicopters – both Airbus H145 – to respond to incidents both during daytime and at night. During the weekdays, these helicopters will be in operation between 6AM and 12midnight. And on the weekends, they will operate till 10PM.
Crew members will be equipped with night-vision goggles, which they can use for the evening flights. They underwent several months of thorough training on Night Vision Imaging System flying. According to the Director of Aviation, Captain Andy Lister, Yorkshire Air Ambulance was only granted permission for night flights after this lengthy training.
Night-Time Medical Flight Service to Begin Immediately
Yorkshire Air Ambulance will be able to start their night time operations immediately. Their crew will now be able to respond to incidents even after dark. This can be crucial especially during the winter, when the sun sets much earlier.
The NVIS goggles will help the pilots and navigational crew in identifying hazards or obstructions during flight and landing. Each of their medical flight service helicopters will also have two paramedics onboard. They too will be trained to wear and use the NVIS goggles. According to Captain Lister, all crew members of the charity will likely have NVIS operations approval by the end of October.
Night vision technology has already been utilized by other air ambulance charities in England such as the East Anglican Air Ambulance and the Great North Air Ambulance.