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New date for chopper visit

Health secretary Shona Robison trying out the new helicopter. Photo: Scottish Ambulance Service

THE PLANNED visit of the new air ambulance helicopter to Shetland, postponed due to bad weather last weekend, has been rescheduled for Sunday (12 July).

Scottish Air Ambulance Service general manager Garry Fraser said he was “very disappointed” that low cloud and fog put paid to the original visit of the Airbus H145 aircraft.

The larger helicopters are to replace the current EC135 helicopters, which have been in service since 2006.

Advantages cited include faster speeds and a greater range, reducing the need to stop en route and refuel on longer missions, along with more room for teams to deliver complex treatment.

The initiative is aimed at giving communities the chance to see the new aircraft up close and to talk to crews about the benefits before they come into service later this month.

Fraser said: “Many of the specifications in the new aircraft are the result of feedback from communities during the procurement consultation and we are keen to give them the opportunity to see the helicopter up close and talk to crews.

“Weather is a key factor in all aviation operations across Scotland and for many years our established contingencies, using coastguard or search and rescue aircraft, have successfully been used to transfer patients who need rapid medical evacuation in poor weather.

“Such contingency arrangements will continue when the new H145 aircraft are introduced to operational service.”

Visit itinerary:

9.30am Fair Isle (airstrip)

10.40am Foula (airstrip)

11.35am Papa Stour (airstrip)

12.35pm Yell (Mid Yell football pitch)

1.30pm Unst (airstrip)

2.25pm Fetlar (airstrip)

3.30pm Skerries (airstrip)

4.30pm Tingwall Airport