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Past Meeting

Carl Undery - Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance: Past, Present & Future

  • Date
    8th October 2008
  • Place
    Chemistry Research Laboratory (CRL), South Parks Rd, Oxford, OX1 3TA
  • Web 
You've seen these amazing rescues on the TV. We heard about them first hand!

Carl Undery served 27 years with Thames Valley Police, and has been with the Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance for five years. So he was well qualified to tell us all about the helicopter service!
The Air Ambulance Service
The Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance is based at RAF Benson and covers Oxfordshire as well as Berks & Bucks. The service was established in 1999, moved to Benson in 2007, and took delivery of their new EC135 helicopter in July 2008.

Crew and helicopter
The helicopter is vital to get people to hospital within the "golden hour", when they have the best chance of surviving. It can travel at high speed, land in places where access is difficult for a conventional ambulance, and it's not affected by traffic jams! It can also speed patients to the most appropriate hospital - not always the nearest.

The new red & yellow Eurocopter EC 135 has twin engines, can fly at around 140mph, and has a flying time of some two hours. It has low vibration levels, and both its main and tail rotors are positioned for good obstacle clearance. It operates seven days a week during daylight hours.

The interior is purpose-designed for ambulance use, with side or rear loading for stretchers. The patient can be cared for in flight, and there is a seat for a parent to travel with a child. The helicopter carries a full range of life saving equipment and two fully qualified Paramedics. TV&CAA also has access to additional help from highly skilled doctors.
Some Numbers

       • TV&CAA has flown more than 10,000 missions
       • This local service costs over £1.5m p.a. to run
       • 24 Air ambulances operate across the UK
       • The average cost of each mission is over £1000

No funding is received from the Government! Everything that TV&CAA needs to keep running comes from the public through donations, fundraising, legacies and sponsorship.

That's why their motto is: We rely on you so you can rely on us!

Our collection on October 8th will go to the Air Ambulance. Let's see if we can raise £100 on the evening!
It Could Be You!
You never know when the person urgently needing airlifting to hospital will be you; so come and find out more about it - and bring your wallet!
The Eurocopter EC 135
Helicopter on motorway The Eurocopter EC 135 is a very powerful, lightweight, twin-engine, multipurpose helicopter which entered service in 1996. It began life as the BO108 first flown by MBB in 1988 (before the formation of Eurocopter in 1992). Certified for single pilot IFR operation, well over 600 have now been delivered to some 100 customers in 25 countries.

A composite fuselage contributes to its excellent speed and range. It's around 12 m (40 ft) long by 2 m (6 ft) wide, and the rotor diameter is over 10 m (33 ft). Empty weight is around 1500 kg (3000 lb); max take off weight around 3000 kg (6000 lb). The standard fuel tanks have a capacity of 675 litres. Cruise speed is 135 knots (160 mph), range 340 nm (390 miles) and rate of climb is 1500 fpm.

Each engine is rated at around 500 kW (650 SHP) providing exceptional one-engine performance. Engine control incorporates "Full Authority Digital Engine Control" (FADEC) which provides very good performance, engine protection and power plant monitoring.

Helicopter from below The four-blade, bearingless main rotor system is made of fibre-reinforced composite. Built-in anti-resonance isolation contributes to low vibration and noise levels which allow operation in populated areas and in close approach to hospitals. Eurocopter's Fenestron tail rotor has an array of ten blades arranged asymmetrically and spaced at different intervals. This substantially reduces noise.

Instrumentation includes dual screen aircraft and engine management system, air data computer, automatic flight control system and GPS moving map.

The Emergency Medical Service (EMS) helicopter can carry one or two stretcher patients and up to three paramedics, doctors or attendants.


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