‘When it all comes together, it’s fantastic’
Dan Smith is a helicopter pilot with the Devon Air Ambulance
I served 23 years in the military, starting in the Navy and ending up in the RAF. I spent that time flying helicopters in support roles, search and rescue and as an instructor.
Once I left I applied to the Devon Air Ambulance Service, and had my world turned upside down for the better when they accepted me. I couldn’t believe it, and I’ve now been doing it for five years. To leave work knowing you’ve made a difference to someone’s life is just incredible.
We’re funded by the people of Devon, through the Devon Air Ambulance Trust. It’s the same elswhere, most counties have an Air Ambulance and they are funded by the public and nothing to do with the government. It’s a service paid for by the people and for the people.
The charity are constantly fund rasing to help keep the service operating. For example, we organise the Devon Air Ambulance Trust Motorcycle Ride Out, with 1000 motorcyclists taking part, which this year takes place on July 9 and will be around the south of the county.
We are lucky enough to have two aircraft here in Devon with one pilot on duty for each. We’re available from 7am until midnight and are looking to go into 24-hour service, which will be quite a revolutionary thing.
It’s brilliant. It’s a job with high responsibility, high stakes and great pressure, but when it all comes together it feels fantastic.
Our paramedics are some of the most highly skilled in the country. This incredible team deliver advanced skills and bring the advantage of speed, which leads to lives being saved. I just fly the helicopter; it’s a proper team effort.
This is a great job, it’s all about helping people and that’s what is really important to me.
‘It’s a job with big responsibility, high stakes and great pressure’
Dan’s the man at the controls but the Air Ambulance is a proper team effort
ready Former military pilot Dan is and waiting to save lives