United Kingdom Medical Aviation
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United Kingdom
Medical Aviation

Current Title: Air Ambulance
Abbreviation: -


Narrative Summary:
The first successful helicopter EMS (Emergency Medical Services) programme in the UK was launched in 1987 by First Air Ambulance in Cornwall. Funded by local taxpayers and charitable donations, this service later expanded into Devon and served as a model for additional services around the country. In Scotland an Air Ambulance service was funded by the Scottish Office in view of the difficulty in providing rapid emergency care by road to the numerous islands and outlying regions of the country. This funding was continued by the Scottish Parliament after its creation.

In April 1999, the Automobile Association (AA), the UK's biggest motoring organisation, announced that it was to help sponsor all of the existing Air Ambulances in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and also assist in the introduction of similar services in other parts of the country. The new funding was administered through a new charity called the 'National Association of Air Ambulance Services', NAAAS. This programme lasted for three years and provided a big boost in funding and public profile for the Air Ambulance operators.

In 2006 a new organization to support the charitable trusts that fund UK Air Ambulance services was launched, the Association of Air Ambulance Charities (AAAC).

Key Dates:
1987    First dedicated EMS service established - Cornwall
April 1999    AA announces funding for UK Air Ambulance services
2006    Association of Air Ambulance Charities established

Current Status:
There are currently 27 Air Ambulance organisations in the UK, operating from 34 locations. The fleet is upgrading from the old faithful Bo 105 to more modern helicopter types such as the EC.135.

Future Plans:
The network of Air Ambulance services continues to expand, and fund raising is currently in progress for a number of additional locations.


National Insignia:
No national markings are carried. The service titles AIR AMBULANCE are displayed on the fuselage sides of aircraft and helicopters.

Aircraft Serial Numbering System(s):
All aircraft and helicopters carry civil registrations.

Unit/Base Aircraft Code System(s):
Unit coding system not used.


Aircraft Designation System(s):
None - Manufacturers designation used.

Current Aircraft Inventory:
Current service types-
Aircraft Type Total
Role Origin
Aerospatiale AS.355 Ecureuil 4 1 EMS/Air Ambulance MAS
Aerospatiale AS.365 Dauphin 2 2 1 EMS/Air Ambulance BAS
Agusta A.109E Power 3 2 EMS/Air Ambulance Sloane Helis.
Beech Super King Air 200C 2 2 EMS/Air Ambulance Gama Aviation
Eurocopter EC.135T2 13 13 EMS/Air Ambulance BAS
MBB Bo 105DBS 13 6 EMS/Air Ambulance BAS
MBB BK.117 2 2 EMS/Air Ambulance Sterling Helis.
MDH MD902 9 9 EMS/Air Ambulance SAS
Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain 1 1 EMS/Air Ambulance Woodgate Avtn.
BAS = operated by Bond Air Services under contract.
MAS = operated by Medical Aviation Services under contract, (later part of SAS).
SAS = operated by Specialist Aviation Services under contract.
# = on delivery

All-Time Aircraft Used List:
Alphabetical Order --- Chronological Order


Main Headquarters:
Not applicable.

Current Organisational Structure:
There is no central organisation controlling UK Air Ambulance operations. In Scotland, Air Ambulance services are funded by the national parliament. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Air Ambulance services come under a locally governed Trust of the National Health Service (NHS), and are entirely funded by charitable donations.

Current Unit Assignments:
Units and bases-
Unit Type Base
The Children's - Elstree, London
Cornwall 1 EC.135T2 Newquay
County 1 1 EC.135T2 RAF Cosford
County 2 1 EC.135T2 Tatenhill
County 3 1 EC.135T2 Strensham
Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland 1 A.109E East Midlands Airport
Devon 1 1 EC.135T2+ Exeter Police HQ
Devon 2 1 EC.135T2 Eaglescott
Dorset & Somerset 1 EC.135T2+ Henstridge
East Anglia 1 1 BK.117 RAF Honington
East Anglia 2 1 BK.117 RAF Wyton
Essex 1 EC.135 Boreham
Great North 1 1 MD902 Durham
Great North 2 1 AS.365 Penrith
Great North 3 1 AS.355 Otterburn
Great Western 1 EC.135 Filton, Bristol
Hampshire & Isle of Wight 1 Bo 105 Thruxton
Hertfordshire n/a n/a
Ireland (1 MD902 planned) RAF Aldergrove
Isle of Man 1 Bo 105, 1 Piper Navajo Douglas
Kent 1 MD902 Marden
Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire 1 MD902 Waddington
London 1 MD902 Royal London Hospital
Mid Wales 1 Bo 105 Welshpool
North Wales 1 Bo 105 Caernarfon
North West 1 EC.135 Blackpool
Scotland 1 2 King Air 200C Aberdeen
Scotland 2 1 EC.135 Inverness
Scotland 3 1 EC.135 Glasgow
South Wales 1 Bo 105 Swansea
Surrey & Sussex 1 MD902 Dunsfold Park
Thames Valley & Chiltern 1 Bo 105 RAF Benson
Warwick & Northamptonshire 1 A.109E Coventry
Wiltshire 1 MD902 & Devizes
Yorkshire 1 1 MD902 Leeds-Bradford Airport
Yorkshire 2 1 MD902 Sheffield City Airport

& = operated in conjunction with Wiltshire Police.

Historical Unit Assignments:
See individual unit histories.

All-Time Flying Units List:
See Current Unit Assignments - no units have been disbanded.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases:
See current unit allocation table.

All-Time Air Bases Used List:
See individual unit histories for previously used bases.

More Information


None known.


To be added.



Air-Britain Photo Images Collection

Bond Air Services

Air Ambulance

wikipedia: Air Ambulance services in the UK

Association of Air Ambulance Charities

UK Emergency Aviation

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First Created: 24 August 1996 - Last Revised: 6 September 2008
Copyright 1996 John Hayles.    e-mail: john@aeroflight.co.uk