Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I make a donation to Essex Air Ambulance?
A. You can make a donation online by going to our Donate section or you can send a cheque made payable to Essex Air Ambulance. Please send your cheque to Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust, Flight House, Earls Colne Business Centre, Earls Colne Business Park, Earls Colne, Colchester, Essex, CO6 2NS.

Q. Who do I speak to if I want to organise a fundraising event?
A. Our Fundraising Team would be delighted to talk to you about organising an event. Please contact Sabi Blyth on 0345 2417 690.

Q. Will you help to organise my fundraising event?
A. We can help to a certain extent but as we are a small team we simply do not have the staff. We can advise you on certain aspects of your event and we can supply you with resources such as banners and posters, however we are unable to organise your event ourselves.

Q. Why doesn't the Essex Air Ambulance qualify for National Lottery funds?
A. The National Lottery has lots of criteria to meet and also does not fund running costs or existing facilities. However we are always looking for opportunities to apply for National Lottery funding.

Q. How much of my donation goes towards administrative costs?
A. The whole of your donation goes towards keeping your aircraft flying. For every £1 that you donate 66p goes towards direct activities involved with the helicopter, with the balance of 34p being spent on other governance and overhead costs involved in running the charity.

Q. Do you have any London Marathon Gold Bond places?
A. We don't currently have any places to offer and we are on the waiting list. However, if you want to run in aid of Essex Air Ambulance and you already have a place we would love to hear from you.

Q. How often does the Essex Air Ambulance fly?
A. On average the helicopter attends between 2 and 4 incidents each day.

Q. What type of helicopter is the Essex Air Ambulance?
A. An MD 902 Explorer

Q. How much does an MD902 Explorer cost to buy?
A. If you went out today and bought an MD902 Explorer with all the equipment carried it will cost you about £3 million.

Q. Does the Charity own the helicopter?
A. No, it's owned by Specialist Aviation Services (SAS) from Gloucester. We have a contract with MAS to provide the helicopter and pilots. MAS maintains the helicopter and supplies fuel.

Q. How much does it cost to run?
A. It costs in the region of £480,000 per month to cover all charitable costs and aircraft operations.

Q. Where is the helicopter based?
A. We operate from Earls Colne Airfield near Colchester.

Q. How can I arrange to visit the helicopter?
A. You can visit our Visitor Centre and have a tour of the airbase and helicopter by booking a visit; call the fundraising office on 0345 2417 690

Q. When is the helicopter available?
A. Up to 10 hours every day throughout the year. The normal start time is 8am and finish is 6pm or sunset whichever occurs first.

Q. How fast does it go?
A. The aircraft flies at around 150 miles per hour (138 knots), cruising speed in still air.

Q. How far do you fly?
A. We operate primarily within the counties of Essex and Hertfordshire.

Q. What fuel does it use?
A. JET A1, the same fuel commercial jets use.

Q. What happens when the helicopter requires maintenance?
A. If it is for a short period, i.e. a few hours or less the service is temporarily unavailable until the helicopter is back "on line". If the downtime is longer than a day the contract allows for a replacement aircraft to be supplied by Specialist Aviation Services.

Q. How many persons can be carried?
A. The normal crewing is one Pilot, one Doctor and one Paramedic. There is sufficient capacity to carry 2 additional passengers or patients.

Q. What type of missions do you fly?
A. We are tasked by the East of England Ambulance Service Trust to attend Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) missions. This is where the aircraft attends an incident where emergency medical assistance is required and rapid transportation is essential.

Q. Can an Air Ambulance land anywhere?
A. No. There are regulations governing the landing sites to be used depending on whether it is a HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) or ambulance mission. The pilots are all highly experienced in where and when they can land.

Q. What equipment is carried on the helicopter?
A. The medical equipment mirrors, wherever possible, that carried on a land ambulance. Due to the nature of the incidents attended the medical personnel will always be in a position to offer the most appropriate care to the patient.