The Association of Air Ambulances (AAA) partners with Vertical Flight Expo & Conference for its first year under a new guise and move to Farnborough International. Becky Steele, Interim General Manager of the AAA talks to us about the challenges that face the air ambulance community and what visitors can expect to see at the show this November.
Who are AAA and what is your mission?
The Association was established as a representative trade body for organisations which form part of the Air Ambulance services in the UK. The Association and its members provide and acknowledge the essential role Air Ambulances play in the emergency services response to save lives. Our vision is to offer outstanding services to our members in order to improve patient outcomes by providing a platform of representation as a unified national voice for the UK air ambulance community to governments, legislators and the general public. We deliver services that will aid our members’ operations, ensuring the unique needs of each member can benefit from the association.
What are the most important issues and challenges facing air ambulance operations today?
Our key issues currently include:
The Emergency Services Mobile Communications Plan, Helicopter Landing Site availability and accessibility 24/7, Patient Data/Outcome Information and Risk Management support on a national scale, Lottery Limit Cap, and the implications for Flight Time Limitations on Medical Crew dependant on any regulatory change. Full details to support can be obtained from our website: www.aoaa.org.uk – Key issues.
As the industry evolves, what do you think will be the next big thing to shake up the air ambulance industry?
Innovation is always key for the future of the industry – the sector is constantly evolving and we expect to see some great examples of this at the show this year. It’s always exciting to see new technologies and the shared desire to improve the vertical flight sector.
Areas of impact / concern and opportunity again are discussed on our key issues document available via www.aoaa.org.uk.
Do you think there is a future for unmanned aircraft within the industry? What will this look like?
Without doubt, we are aware of innovations and keeping an eye out on opportunities such as transporting blood/equipment to the scene, used in the event of a major incident. In addition, there are also discussions in relation to the feasibility of battery-powered flying taxi’s for use at the Paris Olympics in 2024, who knows where this may lead if achievable and a success especially with carbon emissions high on the agenda.
As a partner to the Vertical Flight Expo this year, why are events like this important to the air med and rescue industry, and what are you most looking forward to seeing at the show this November?
Events such as Vertical Flight Expo provide the perfect platform for the air ambulance community to network, and share their knowledge and experience to the industry. It also affords the opportunity to meet with partners and learn about innovations and technology to support development of the services in the future. It is a welcomed opportunity which enables the industry as a whole to learn and collaborate from the broad spectrum of attendees and exhibitors. We are very much looking forward to welcoming all to our stand, meeting with partners, learning about new innovations and exploring future opportunities for the benefit of the community.