Wiltshire Air Ambulance

Air ambulance "one step closer" to being used again

Image of Wiltshire County air ambulance
Chris Watkins Media

The team behind Wiltshire Air Ambulance said it is one step closer to returning the county's main helicopter to active service.

The helicopter has not been able to attend emergencies since the start of 2019, following technical problems and the company which provided the air licence going out of business.

The head of the emergency service said the team had a successful inspection by the Civil Aviation Authority and is now waiting to be issued a certificate.

Bosses are hoping it can return to active service in the near future.

The Bell 429 helicopter in the air ambulance's green and yellow colours, was grounded on 2 January.

This came less than a month after Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, officially opened the charity's new base at Semington, near Melksham.

It was initially taken out of service after a technical problem, but soon after the company which provided the air licence went out of business.

In the meantime the helicopter is being used for training.

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Wiltshire Air Ambulance to fly again

New helicopter
Wiltshire Air Ambulance
The MD 902 is a helicopter the charity has used in the past

Wiltshire Air Ambulance is to resume flying from Friday, after being grounded last week.

A back-up helicopter (MD 902) is to be used for day flying for the foreseeable future, after a helicopter they previously used - Heli Charter - failed a safety test and its operator went bust.

A "contingency arrangement" has been made with Specialist Aviation Services instead.

The charity’s two Rapid Response Vehicles will continue to be used when it is quicker to travel to an incident by road and during the night.

Duchess of Cornwall opens Wiltshire Air Ambulance airbase

The Duchess of Cornwall meets air ambulance staff
Wiltshire Air Ambulance

The Duchess of Cornwall has officially opened a new airbase for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance at Semington, near Melksham.

The official opening comes seven months after the air ambulance moved to the purpose-built airbase - bringing together the helicopter, operational, fundraising and administrative teams on to one site.

Duchess of Cornwall presented with posy
Wiltshire Air Ambulance

Camilla, patron of the charity, was welcomed by the Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Sarah Rose Troughton, and presented with a posy of flowers by four-year-old Mia Burry.

Mia, who lives in Semington, was treated by the charity's paramedics when she was four weeks old and struggling to breathe. She made a full recovery after being treated in hospital for pneumonia and sepsis.

Duchess of Cornwall
Wiltshire Air Ambulance