Yorkshire Air Ambulance

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Yorkshire Air Ambulance
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Yorkshire Air Ambulance is a dedicated helicopter emergency service for the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England. It was introduced in 2000, and currently operates two Airbus H145 aircraft. The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is maintained by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance Trust, a registered charity. The air ambulance's flagship base is located at Nostell Priory[1] and has landing pads at various major hospitals around the region including Leeds General Infirmary, Hull Royal Infirmary and James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough. In October 2007, a second base was opened at Sheffield City Airport.[2] The airport then closed at the end of April 2008 but a heliport facility was still provided for the use of the air ambulance and the South Yorkshire Police helicopter.[3] In November 2010, the operational base for the Sheffield-based aircraft was moved to Bagby Airport near Thirsk.[4] The second aircraft then made another move in March 2012 to RAF Topcliffe, which it shares with the 645 Volunteer Gliding Squadron.

In 2012, the BBC reported that planning permission had been granted for a new operating base within the Nostell Priory estate for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. The new site, including a hangar and aircrew accommodation, became operational in 2013. It replaced the facility at Leeds Bradford Airport.[5][1]


G-SASH in Derbyshire

One helicopter (formerly Helimed 99, registration G-SASH) was based at a hangar at Leeds Bradford Airport (EGNM), which enabled servicing and maintenance to be carried out overnight, leading to even quicker response times in many parts of the county. Until 2016, the helicopter was located at Nostell Priory near Wakefield, where it had a newly renovated hangar and accommodation for crew, plus offices on site.[1] The aircraft was then replaced by G-YAAC (Helimed 99), a brand new £6 million Airbus H145.[6]

The second YAA helicopter (formerly Helimed 98, registration G-CEMS) was originally based at Sheffield City Airport but moved in March 2012 to RAF Topcliffe near Thirsk. A spokesman for the charity commented:

"What we're looking to do is provide the very best coverage for the whole of Yorkshire, for the five million population. The people of Yorkshire are better served with an aircraft at Thirsk and one at Leeds Bradford."[4]

G-YOAA (Helimed 98) replaced G-CEMS in 2016 as part of the air ambulance's fleet renewal programme.

The aircraft[edit]

G-YAAC landing at Leeds General Infirmary.

The first helicopter was an MBB Bo 105, but in 2005 they started using an MD 902 Explorer.[7] The Explorer is used extensively in an air ambulance capacity throughout the UK, but is gradually being phased out of service for renewal purposes. It has five rotor blades to ensure a smooth flight which can prove particularly beneficial for patients suffering head or spinal injuries. Twin turbine engines give it a cruising speed of 154 mph (248 km/h), and skid landing gear allows it to cope with all types of terrain. Its compact dimensions allow it to land in confined spaces, yet it has room to carry one stretcher patient. It contains all equipment found on any front-line ambulance plus other special items.

They have to land in a great variety of places: in one call, the only land near enough and flat enough to land on was the top of Whernside (2,415 feet).

In 2016, the two existing helicopters were replaced by two brand new Airbus H145s, which are registered as G-YAAC (based at Nostell Priory) and G-YOAA (based at RAF Topcliffe). The new H145 helicopters cost £12 million in total and offer significantly lower operational and maintenance costs, as well as having night capability enabling longer hours of operation. They are expected to serve Yorkshire for the next 20 to 25 years.[8][9]

Cost and financing[edit]

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is a charitable organization solely maintained by donations as it receives no form of official funding. Medical and paramedic staff, however, are provided by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service. The resident population and visitors to Yorkshire finance the Air Ambulance by donations, and various fund-raising events. All donations received are administered by Yorkshire Air Ambulance Donation Office.

In 2015 Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne pledged £1 million to the organization paid for from fines levied on banks.[10]

Richard Hammond's Dragster Crash in 2006[edit]

In September 2006, the original helicopter was involved in transporting the Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond following his high-speed accident at the former-RAF Elvington airfield near York. Following this operation, a high-profile charity appeal was launched, by 16 October contributions to the appeal have so far amounted to £185,770, although payment authorisation of one donation of £50,000 was "declined".[11]

Hospital landing pads[edit]

T.V. programme[edit]

The Air Ambulance is also the subject of BBC One programme Helicopter Heroes and also Countryside 999 series 3.


They were the kit sponsor of Huddersfield Town F.C. for the 2009-10 season.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c [1]
  2. ^ "Second Air Ambulance is launched". BBC News Online. BBC. 25 October 2007. Retrieved 26 October 2007. 
  3. ^ "£100m airport plan to create jobs". BBC News Online. BBC. 8 February 2008. Retrieved 28 February 2008. 
  4. ^ a b "Yorkshire Air Ambulance to move from Sheffield base". BBC News Online. BBC. 1 November 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  5. ^ "Wakefield base for Yorkshire Air Ambulance helicopter". web page. www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  6. ^ "New Helicopters". Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Retrieved 19 December 2016. 
  7. ^ "Yorkshire Air Ambulance". Air ambulance unit history. Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  8. ^ "New Helicopters". Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Retrieved 19 December 2016. 
  9. ^ "Yorkshire Air Ambulance unveils its new helicopter". Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Retrieved 19 December 2016. 
  10. ^ "Chancellor pledges £1 million for a new helicopter for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance". GOV.UK. 
  11. ^ "Why the Hammond fundraising total dropped". Justgiving blog. Retrieved 3 August 2009. 

External links[edit]