A couple of weeks ago I spent two evenings at the East Anglian Air Ambulance base, Norwich Airport on a PR shoot (expertly assisted by Leanne) to publicise that, as of today, they are operational 24 hours a day. More information about that here.
It was always going to be tricky since we not only required decent weather for it but also knowing that they could be called out at any point – at the time we did the shoot they were operating up until 1:15am as a way to ease into shifts running the full 24hrs on the 30th June. We got lucky and had a couple of decent evenings and managed to get most of the shots we had hoped for on the first day before that red telephone started ringing and they were tasked to attend a casualty. This worked for me as I got to take photos of the helicopter (Anglia One) taking off and flying out into the sunset.
All of the team were very welcoming and it was good to chat with them (over a cheeky McD’s!) about various aspects of their job. It seems amazing that the air ambulance is a charity, a service which has saved countless lives in East Anglia with their helicopters based in Norwich and Cambridge, notching up over 30,000 missions since they started in 2000. Being able to not only get places very quickly but also deliver highly trained doctors and critical care paramedics is an invaluable service to the region. Also as they carry doctors (and some state of the art equipment) they are able to administer treatments that previously would have only been available to casualties on arrival at hospital; treatment that saves lives time and time again.
With the first evening’s shots in the bag and the helicopter winging their way to someone in need we packed up, already planning the shoot the following evening to get the rest of the shots.
When we turned up the next evening we could see the helicopter was not outside the hanger so I brought up the FlightRadar24 app on my phone and we could see they were currently on a job at the coast but on their way back. Sure enough, ten minutes later, we heard the whirring and Anglia One appeared over the horizon, took their approach along the runway then turned and came towards us outside the hanger before posing for some in-flight photos and landing. It was good to see the same pilots from the previous evening on board – Captain Rob and Co-pilot Seb.
In the shot below pilot Seb demonstrates the new Japanese-style sleeping pods, installed in their fully made-over hanger to allow the crew to get some sleep during the night between tasks…
A big thank you to all at EAAA for their hospitality over the couple of evenings we spent with them, also to my partner, Leanne, for being such a great assistant as always. I hope the shots we got help the EAAA promote the fantastic work they do for our community and all the best to them for the next step in the evolution of the service in providing critical care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.