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East Anglian Air Ambulance takes delivery of night capable EC135

19th September 2012 - 13:30 GMT | by Tony Osborne in London

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The East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) has taken delivery of a new EC135 helicopter capable of conducting night time operations.

The arrival of the new EC135 T2e at Cambridge on 18 September is part of the charity's plan to spearhead air ambulance operations during the hours of darkness with crews using night vision goggles to land at unlit landing sites to pick up casualties.

Tim Page, CEO of the EAAA, said in a 18 September press release: 'Our move into night flying means that during the winter months when people drive to and from work in the dark, should an accident or medical emergency happen, we will be there, bringing the hospital emergency room to them, wherever they are in East Anglia.'

The new aircraft had been due to arrive in July, but EAAA crews in conjunction with Bond Air Services have now started training on NVGs and hope to undertake the first operations by the end of the year, making them the first air ambulance operator in the UK to do so.

A second NVG-capable aircraft, an EC145 T2 is expected to enter service in December 2013.

Despite increased costs, several air ambulance operators across the UK are investigating the potential benefits of night-time operations. Previously, night-time air ambulances operations have been limited to lit-helipads only, preventing them from going to the accident scenes as they would do during daylight hours.

A recent directive from the UK Civil Aviation Authority have opened the potential of night operations by laying down safe operating requirements including the provision of risk assessments, observing and recording local weather conditions.

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