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Our history archive showing original LNAA staff members

Where it all began

In 1991, the board of the Lincolnshire Ambulance NHS Trust decided to explore the possibility of providing an air ambulance for Lincolnshire. 

John Hill, a Lincolnshire Ambulance NHS Trust member who became our first Chairman, took on the challenge. His first job was to recruit a Board of Trustees and a fundraiser. Dr Alan Sagar played a key role in those early days, together with Mike Ruffle, Mike Gillon, Ian Massey and Dr Cyril Nyman. 

With a Board of Trustees in place, fundraising began. Our first fundraiser, Thirza Hart, started recruiting volunteers.  Judy Johnston (pictured in the centre of this photo), worked with us for 26 years. Mike Ruffle came up with the name ‘Ambucopter’ and his son, Glen, drew the logo of a helicopter within a heart which has remained our insignia ever since. 

Our history archive showing original G-PASC helicopter

Three years in planning

After three years of planning and public fundraising, the Lincolnshire Air Ambulance first became operational on April 3, 1994, with our first airlift taking place on May 13, 1994. 

In those early days our helicopter, an ex-Police Bolkow aircraft (G-PASC), only flew when we had sufficient income meaning it was often grounded for months at a time while fundraising took place. The helicopter had enough room for a crew of three – one pilot and up to two paramedics. It had a top speed of around 165mph. 

But, by March 1995, a two-year sponsorship deal with the Lincolnshire Standard newspaper group, allowed us to fly 365 days a year. A year later we extended our service to cover Nottinghamshire with another sponsorship deal, this time from the Nottingham Post.

Our history archive showing G-LNCT helicopter taking off

A whole new era

In 2000, we said farewell to our Bolkow and moved to a new generation of aircraft, an MD902 Explorer (G-LNAA). This helicopter could accommodate a crew of four – one pilot, a doctor and two paramedics. It had a top speed of 160mph. 

This helicopter served the charity well and in November 2010 we upgraded to a newer MD902 (G-LNCT). 

Our history archive showing G-LNAC helicopter flying over countryside

Onwards & upwards

In June 2017, we said goodbye to our MD902 and started to fly an AgustaWestland 169 (G-LNAC) – a top-of-the-range Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) aircraft. The state-of-the-art helicopter was bigger than any helicopter we had ever flown – offering head-to-toe access to patients in flight. 

Just three months after its arrival our crew started carrying blood on board, allowing them to deliver potentially life-saving blood transfusions at the scene for the first time. 

Pilots wearing night vision goggles

24-hour operation

In July 2021, we took delivery of our newest AW169, registration G-LNCC. In combination with our critical care cars, which operate when bad weather or built-up areas with restricted helicopter access prevent us from flying to patients, we now operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

We need to raise £10m every year to support our 24 hour operations – something we can only do with your support!