Dec 14 2005
Today saw the sad retirement of the long serving NWAA Bolkow aircraft and its replacement with a brand new state of the art helicopter in the shape of a Eurocopter EC135. This new aircraft offers much greater flexibility, not the least of which is increased cabin space, and the ability to load stretchers in from the side cabin doors as well as through the back, under the tail boom (whereas the old Bolkow could only be rear loaded)
For us rescuers who have to work around this new aircraft, it offers considerably more safety features, by way of increased headroom under the rear tail boom, and a fully enclosed rear rotor; the engine noise levels are also much less.
An official launch ceremony was held at the NWAA base at Blackpool (Squires Gate) Airport today, and was attended by many dignitaries, supporters, and organisations who work regularly with the aircraft including Mountain Rescue Teams.
NWAA’s brand new EC135 helicopter hovers over its predecessor Bolkow Bo105 aircraft, at Blackpool Airport
Our representative was present in the shape of Mike Marsh, one of our Operational Deputy Team Leaders and a long serving team member.
During the launch, which was attended by the press and television, a formal dedication service and blessing of the new aircraft took place, including a naming ceremony.
Known to us as the North West Air Ambulance, and its call sign Helimed 08, it is now also named “Katie” in honour of a extremely kind sponsor (the Air Ambulance Service, like ours is voluntary funded).
We wish all at NWAA well with their new aircraft, and may “Katie” go on to serve us all in the North West in the grand (and safe) tradition of the old Bolkow aircraft.