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New Cornwall Air Ambulances
2:56pm 12th March 2014
Cornwall's Air Ambulance will fly an extra 50 missions a year thanks to new "space age" helicopters.
They will be able to fly at night for the first time with the help of night vision goggles for the crew.
It means they can be called out 12 hours a day all year round.
Spokesperson Tom Matthews told Pirate FM why it is so important: "All sorts of incidents occur in the hours of darkness. Around Christmas-time we see a peak in the number of people falling out of lofts because they are putting Christmas decorations away. Even things like that, at the moment if that was to happen on an evening when you've got home from work, we wouldn't be able to respond, whereas in the future we would be able to.
"For the very first time we will be able to fly in the hours of darkness. That will mean we can fly twelve hours a day all year round. We estimate about another 50 missions a year, which might not sound a huge number but for those 50 patients that's the mission that counts."
The crew have already started training for lift off in December.
Chief Executive of Cornwall Air Ambulance, Paula Martin, said: "This is a really exciting time for the charity, but more importantly for the community of Cornwall.
"Perhaps the most significant change is that these new aircraft will be able to fly in the dark, initially 12 hours per day throughout the year."
The charity receives no direct government funding and does not qualify for National Lottery support.
Ms Martin said: "We wanted to reflect and celebrate the incredible support we receive from our donors in the livery of the new aircraft, so both helicopters will proudly display the St Piran's flag, along with the words 'Funded By The People of Cornwall' in both English and Kernewek."
The aircraft registrations - G-CNWL and G-CIOS - will also celebrate the community the charity serves in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Ms Martin added: "The one request we heard time and again from our supporters was that we kept red as our main colour. Today we can reassure people that the iconic and reassuring sight of 'Cornwall's red and yellow lifesaving chopper' remains constant in our skies."
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