Italian manufacturer Leonardo continues to dominate in Europe as demand grows for the AW169 in the U.K.
Specialist Aviation Services (SAS) announced the delivery of three AW169 air ambulances on June 14, 2017 after a delivery ceremony was held at the company’s headquarters the previous Friday. The delivery ceremony at the company’s Gloucestershire Airport base involved the handover of three AW169s, one aircraft being formally accepted by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance and Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance Services.
The aircraft each feature individually customized and medical interiors that were adapted to suit each services need. SAS recently receiving STC approval from European authorities for their new medical interior that was announced just days before the delivery took place.
Among the many benefits the AW169 offers the three Ambulance service customers is an APU mode that enables on-scene ground power without rotors turning along with the standardized cockpit layout between the other Leonardo models in the class, the AW139 and AW189. Each customer ranked the safety features of the new AW169 as a high priority and part of the overall decision to choose this aircraft for their fleets.
“This is the only helicopter in its class for this kind of work and with our medical interior, we believe the AW169 will significantly advance the HEMS operations in the UK and overseas”, said Henk Schaeken, SAS Managing Director.
The three helicopters will waste no time going into service, as pilots have already transitioned into the new type during the completion time taken between initial delivery of the helicopters in late February 2017, meaning the helicopters will all be in service in U.K. HEMS operations by the end of this week.
Work for SAS does not slow down however, the company has already begun preparations ahead of the impending arrival of three more AW169’s set for delivery to Air Ambulance customers later this year. The company also shared that further deliveries have already been signed for that will also begin arriving early next year.
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Ryan Mason is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of Heliweb Magazine. Ryan has worked in aviation media for the last nine years as a photographer and journalist, providing written and photographic content for multiple international aviation publications covering both fixed wing and helicopters. Ryan has also written for law enforcement publications on tactics, equipment and airborne law enforcement, drawing on his years of experience as a police officer in the Midwest United States. You can reach Ryan at email@example.com