Wiltshire Air Ambulance was established in March 1990 as a joint venture between the Wiltshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust and the Wiltshire Constabulary. Sharing resources kept costs down and the charity needed £700,000 a year to keep Wiltshire’s Air Ambulance in the skies.
In January 2015, the charity started operating a dedicated Air Ambulance which means we must raise £3.25m a year. The helicopter is a Bell 429 call sign ‘Helimed 22’ and it has a top speed of 178 mph. The cabin can accommodate a pilot, two paramedics, one patient, and a passenger where appropriate. The air ambulance flies up to 19 hours a day. Helimed22 is fitted with a Trakka Beam moveable searchlight and, when flying at night, our aircrew use the Night Vision Imaging System (NVIS) and Night Vision Goggles.
Wiltshire Air Ambulance are going to build a new airbase for their helicopter, aircrew and charity team. We received full planning permission in January 2017 for our new airbase on land at Outmarsh Farm, Semington, near Wiltshire. The site is ideally situated in central Wiltshire, allowing the helicopter to reach all parts of the county within 11 minutes.
Income from the lifesaving lottery topped £1m in 2016 and forms a significant part of the money needed to keep the service going.