England

New air ambulance to be launched

New air ambulance
Image caption The new helicopter is faster and has a longer range

A new rescue helicopter is due to take to the skies of the East Midlands in the next few weeks.

The Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance is leasing a custom-built MD 902 Explorer to replace the aircraft it has been using for 10 years.

The helicopter, which will cost the charity £1.5m per year, is faster, has a longer range, and is fitted with more up-to-date medical equipment.

Its official launch will take place on 18 November.

Public funding

Fundraiser Jim Vickrage said: "The helicopter's a bit quicker - it can take more fuel so we can fly for longer without refuelling which is really important.

"And it's up to date in terms of the medical equipment, which is really state-of-the-art, so we're really excited.

"We're having a launch for the helicopter and we're appealing to people who've been airlifted since the charity started back in 1994 to come forward and tell us about their experiences, and luckily we've had quite a few people who are willing to do that so that's great."

Mr Vickrage said he hoped the launch would highlight the fact that the service relied on public funding and would encourage corporate sponsors to come forward.

"The people of Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire do a fantastic job raising the huge sums of money we need, but we always need more help," he said.

The existing helicopter - also an MD 902 Explorer - will be returned to the leasing company for refurbishment and placed on standby to be used as a replacement when the new aircraft requires maintenance.

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