‘When it all comes to­gether, it’s fan­tas­tic’

Dan Smith is a he­li­copter pi­lot with the Devon Air Am­bu­lance

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

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

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