The Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) is breaking new ground in the Air Ambulance industry having just become the first Air Ambulance in the UK to apply for and obtain their own Air Operators Certificate (AOC) from scratch.
The Yorkshire based charity, which owns and operates two MD 902 Explorers, learned last week that after nearly a year of hard work to produce and submit the complex application, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have granted and approved the YAA to operate under their own AOC.
Bruce Burns, Vice-Chairman of the YAA commented “We are all so proud of this achievement! It has taken so much hard work by our team for us to be able to achieve our own AOC, in particular our Chief Pilot, Captain Andy Lister who alongside myself, as the Accountable Manager, compiled and coordinated the application.
This now means that we have complete autonomy over the operations of our two helicopters. Not only do we now own both of our aircraft, but we will control them directly too, without the need to operate under a third party AOC. This will provide significant benefits including more control over our maintenance and operational costs, which will be of great help to us over the coming years. The Charity took the decision to apply for its own AOC in 2011, after deciding it was the next step forward in the development of its operations.
Bruce continued “Although this is great news for the YAA, there is still a lot of hard work to be done to maintain our AOC. However, we have a great team around us at the YAA and I know they will work extremely hard to sustain all that has already been achieved.”
The granting of the AOC concludes what has been a busy year for the YAA operationally.
Earlier in year the YAA took up residency at a new base in North Yorkshire. Their helicopter G –CEMS now has a new home at RAF Topcliffe near Thirsk, and has been successfully operating from there since February.
Facilities at Topcliffe include hangar space for maintaining and housing the helicopter, dedicated crew accommodation, and office and training facilities.
There was also the exciting news that the Charity has been granted planning permission to develop a new air base and operating facilities for its other helicopter G-SASH. The new base will see the relocation from their existing premises at Leeds Bradford International Airport to purpose made facilities on the Nostell estate near Wakefield. Plans are now coming together to develop similar facilities at Nostell to those that are available at Topcliffe.
The icing on the cake for what has been a very busy 2012 for the YAA was the honour of the acceptance by HRH the Duke of York to become the charities Royal Patron.