Alderney ambulance staff find Dorniers difficult for medevacs

AURIGNY and Alderney’s ambulance service are caught in a tangle over medevacs and the transition to Dorniers.

medevac
Aurigny has been operating medevac flights from Alderney using Trislanders for many years, but they will be disappearing from the skies soon and St John Ambulance in Alderney has been having difficulties in loading patients into the Dorniers which are replacing them. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 17746642)

St John Alderney Ambulance Service crews say they are finding it difficult to load passengers into and out of the Dornier fleet, owing to factors such as the height and structure of the door and limited space inside.

Aurigny said that owing to liability issues, its staff are not able to help out with the loading and off-loading of patients.

A licensed engineer needs to sign off the removal of seats to configure a Dornier for carrying a stretcher each time a medivac is carried out, adding to the issues around the aircraft’s use for medical flights.

A contract for medevacs has never been been formalised between Health & Social Care and Aurigny.

There are now three Dorniers and one Trislander operating the Alderney routes and the remaining Trislander will be taken out of service in May.

St John Alderney Ambulance Service chairman Les Stewart said a total of five people were required to load a stretcher onto a Dornier – three on the outside and two inside.

Comments for: "Alderney ambulance staff find Dorniers difficult for medevacs"

bertw2016

Surely this was considered or tested before money was spent on the new planes. Medevacs are an important service to Alderney

Walrus

Of course this wasn't tested before the planes were bought as common sense doesn't seem to exist in the states or civil service.

Jimmy

Issues such as this and the freight / post problems were bought to the attention of Aurigny & States Of Alderney when they were considering buying these planes, but still they went ahead with buying them. A bit late to start highlighting the problems now, that horse bolted ages ago.

Woodman

Maybe not TOO late Jimmy. It is anticipated that Air Alderney will receive their AOC and begin operating services from Alderney in June. They will be operating a small fleet of Islanders, a proven inter-island workhorse which for many years performed the Medivac function before Aurigny switched to Trislanders. I seem to recall them mentioning the medivac capability in their publicity blurb.

Alvin

Are they still proceeding ? They have fallen rather quiet these past three weeks. The Jersey route and maybe also the Cherbourg route would be very interesting. But they were talking about acquiring two "Turbine Islanders" - I presume they have identified the aircraft they want as there are not many about, unlike the orginal versions.

Woodman

As I understand it, the company behind Air Alderney is called Wessex Aviation, or something like that. They are based at Biggin Hill and apparently already own two turbo islanders.

Woodman

I just looked up Wessex Aviation on the Biggin Hill website. Their website link points to the website of a firm called D B Wilson helicopters.

http://www.dbwilsonhelicopters.com/

It seems that this firm refurbishes ex-military aircraft (mostly helicopters) and their website says they own 4 turbo islanders.

Alvin

Now that is very interesting, Woodman.

I hope it goes ahead, Woodman. I have not been over to Alderney since 2000 - long overdue. Who knows, maybe Alderney residents will find it cheaper getting to Gatwick than Guernsey residents ! :-)

Alvin

Oh... and that Wessex would be useful for medical evacuations ! :-)

P'tit Colin

Competition is required with a whole new business approach regarding fares, freight, post and medieval. Not entirely sure if this model would work to service all three islands, but a US startup called Surfair runs a subscription service - a bit like a gym membership - with an annual subscription fee plus a monthly charge. No individual ticketing, turn up/phone ahead to see if there are seats available and then make your way to the airport. The US example is restricted to California and the choice of aircraft was limited to meet certain permissible FAA exemptions (so limited to 9 pax per trip) which means Surf operate Pilates PC12 single engined aircraft.

Suitably modified to keep subscriptions and monthly charges at a reasonable level, this could be an answer to keeping inter island flights going. I'd advocate the Cessna Caravan/Super Caravan as the aircraft of choice and it comes with a frieght door as standard. Fixed undercarriage, single engine turboprop with a proven track record around the world and, I think, the lowest seat cost/mile of any certified passenger aircraft.

Alvin

Not sure where exactly the problem lies as the Do228NGs are supposed to be easily converted to air ambulance ops. Someone is not being straight or is trying to cause problems...

https://www.ruag.com/en/about-ruag/media-room/news/second-new-production-dornier-228-aircraft-aurigny-air-services

Woodman

Good morning Alvin.

Your link you posted is a publicity page from Ruag (Dornier) which refers to the new Dornier, due for delivery in 2017. As far as I'm aware, all medivacs are being carried out using the very old, derated Dornier, into which the stretcher unit is permanently mounted because to reconfigure the Dornier's seating/stretcher arrangement allegedly requires the services of an aero engineer, unlike the Trislander, which is reconfigured by ground crew. from what I gather, Aurigny are unwilling to remove additional seats and reposition the stretcher unit to facilitate the safety of patients and ambulance staff. I also hear that Aurigny have withdrawn the assistance of their own ground crew because of the health and safety risks involved.

Alvin

Yes.. as I said... something is wrong somewhere... and needs to be sorted out. Bear in mind that Aurigny already has one new Dornier and the other one is supposed to be arriving in a couple of months.

Why the two older 228s were purchased in the first place is another story and has been discussed before without any proper answers being given.

Rottweiller

My old mate Trev heard that there are three Dorniers, one up in Scandinavia having virtually a new wing due to extensive corrosion and they require three different crews as they are not identical, so the pilots cannot transfer across to a different Dornier. Might be something in taht as they couldn't transfer from the Trislanders to Dorniers without specific training.

Anyone with aviation knowledge able to confirm whether that is true.?

Also don't like the "our staff cannot help with loading stretchers due to liability issues" nonsense, how many people would refuse to assist an ambulanceman.? - Shame on them.!

no1native

It really is Shame on them......Aurigny management that is! They are the ones telling the ground staff not to help as they are not covered by insurance!!

You really couldn't make this up.

Woodman

From the full printed GP article.

Malcolm Coupar, Aurigny commercial director, said "The Dornier aircraft have successfully operated a number of medevac services from Alderney, the operational capability is proven"

By "a number" he means that exactly two medevac flights from Alderney have occurred. On offloading one of them, a Guernsey Ambulance person was injured. Aurigny subsequently withdrew assistance from their staff, presumably because of the identified Health & Safety issue. That makes a total of one flight that has occurred without incident, a 50% success rate. Not what most people would regard as proven operational capability.

NickiDo

Medevacs are just the start of it..how could they overlook such an important issue?even if your patient could get off the stretcher, they are really not easy to board.

These craft were obviously not designed for anyone with mobility problems, a rope handle and then a bend to get through the door without whacking your head! Cue a look at the demographic of the Alderney population, not to mention those that visit...