The Wiltshire Air ambulance has been grounded following safety concerns The charity issued a statement and update following the fault after it was discovered during daily safety checks.
On Wednesday (January 2), as the duty pilot was conducting the routine daily power assurance checks of the engines, the helicopter systems did not perform as expected and as such the decision was made to ground the aircraft until such time as the manufacturer’s support engineer had downloaded Flight Data Recorder data for analysis. At no time did the pilot lose control of the aircraft.
The support engineer was onsite yesterday (January 3) and, since aircrew and patient safety is our primary concern, we will wait for the results of this data analysis before the helicopter resumes flying operations.
In addition, we are aware of the difficult events taking place at Heli Charter, our Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holder. At this time we express our sympathies with the staff of Heli Charter who have been affected.
The charity has its own contingency plan, which has already begun. For some time we have been looking to secure our own AOC and those preparations are well advanced and its issuance imminent.
As is always the case, we continue to respond to medical emergencies from our two Rapid Response Vehicles, which carry the same specialist medical equipment that is on-board the helicopter. Also under our mutual aid protocols, we will be supported by neighbouring air ambulance charities should there be incidents requiring a helicopter.
We will look to update all our supporters further, as and when is appropriate.
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