On Thursday 14th September, I sat in for Michelle on the show and the main topic of conversation was the Essex Air Ambulance as it was their National Air Ambulance Week.
I was lucky enough to spend 2 days up at Anglia Flight Centres in Earls Colne, the home of the helicopter – The staff and crew were extremely generous with their time and not only did I get to speak to one of its pilots and critical-care doctors, but a few “up-close” pictures of the re-painted aircraft were also possible.
They typically fly 3-4 missions per day during daylight hours and its cruising speed of 150mph places it just not just minutes away from reaching an emergency, but being able to quickly transport patients to hospital.
One of the pilots on duty that day was Daniel Vickers who explained a bit about his background and what goes on during a shift.
The air ambulance is crewed by a paramedic and a critical-care doctor – and Dr Simon Keane was kind enough to explain how he got into his role and how this life-saving service is not part of the NHS but relies on generous donations to keep it flying.
The £6.5m MD902 helicopter, its crew and support staff are reliant on donations in excess of £400,000 per month, so if you have a great idea for a fundraising event, help and publicity materials are available here.
The location is a plane-spotters paradise: It’s a working airfield, home of a popular flying school and aircraft hire facility as well as housing the fast-response vehicle for when the helicopter is out of service, eg: poor weather/visibility.
Amateur Radio and Helicopters?
Helping to raise awareness for the Air Ambulance were a group of Amateur Radio enthusiasts from “Essex Ham“. Each year, an internationally co-ordinated event takes place which encourages radio operators to contact each other and make their local helicopter emergency service known.
I spoke with Pete Sipple, callsign M0PSX, about how this event is put together and what kind of radio signals are being received.
Here are 2 of the medial staff getting to grips with the Amateur Radio equipment – with me supervising!