Saving young lives with The Children’s Air Ambulance - EBAA

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Saving young lives with The Children’s Air Ambulance

Richard Clayton is the director of operations for The Children’s Air Ambulance and its umbrella organization, The Air Ambulance Service, bringing focus to the impact that special mission services have on public health.

Below is a Q&A with Mr. Clayton to learn more about him.

This article was originally published on ebace.aero

Q. Mr. Clayton, Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I am the director of operations for The Children’s Air Ambulance and our umbrella organization, The Air Ambulance Service, which runs two operational helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) units covering five counties: Warwickshire, Northamptonshire (WNAA) and Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland (DLRAA). Together, the two operations provide rapid response to medical emergencies over an area of 3,850 square miles.

The Children’s Air Ambulance is a dedicated aeromedical emergency transfer service for seriously ill babies and children across the United Kingdom, working in partnership with nine National Health Service specialist transport teams that retrieve patients from district hospitals and transfer them safely to specialist treatment centers. We provide the only dedicated helicopter transfer service for critically ill children and babies in the country. When a child is too ill to transfer, we fly specialist clinicians to the child.

Q. You’ve been asked to participate in an EBACE2019 education session focused on humanitarian efforts in the business aviation industry. What is your organisation’s involvement in this area?

We operate specialized emergency medical transport versions of helicopters you often see flying in support of a variety of businesses. Our HEMS units fly two variants of the Leonardo AW109, and The Children’s Air Ambulance operates two AW169s. Our helicopters currently fly between 10-12 hours per day, depending on the operation.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish by participating in this panel? What do you expect?

I think it’s important to highlight the many benefits offered by this industry, as even some working within business aviation may not be aware of the extent to which their industry supports humanitarian missions. Our HEMS and Children’s Air Ambulance operations are charities that save lives, and this panel is important for us to raise awareness of our services to a larger audience. It also provides the chance to share experiences with, and draw lessons from, other like-minded individuals.

Q. How do you think the business aviation community has evolved in the last 12 months? Any particular challenges you want to highlight?

Brexit is the single greatest challenge facing our operations in terms of both cost and, in particular, project development. We have several approvals pending before EASA, such as fitting our pediatric rotorcraft with incubators and nitric [oxide] systems, and the statuses of those approvals are challenging as we move towards the deadline. That’s not only a difficult situation for me as an operator; it’s a problem for all business aviation operators flying from the UK.

Q. Take our 3 words challenge: pick three words to describe the future business aviation industry.

Our industry will continue to be responsive, flexible and innovative. Those are the attitudes I see from my aviation providers, and we’re always looking for new ways to better serve our patients.