New Air Ambulance shown off.

A new state-of-the art air ambulance landed in Wiltshire for the first time.

The Bell 429 helicopter flew into Trafalgar Park, near Salisbury, where it was welcomed by around 500 special guests, including former patients whose lives were saved by Wiltshire Air Ambulance paramedics.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance is making aviation history as the Bell 429 is the first to operate as an air ambulance in the UK.air ambulance_3568

The new air ambulance has a top speed of 156knots (180mph) and is one of the most advanced light twin helicopters ever developed.

Chief Pilot George Lawrence was among the guests to welcome the new helicopter to Wiltshire. He said “The new helicopter is faster and has a bigger range – it can fly for around 2 and a half hours.

“The larger space on board will make it easier for paramedics to care for patients as they are flown to hospital.”

Chief Executive of Wiltshire Air Ambulance, David Philpott, said “The new helicopter will make it easier for paramedics to carry out life- saving interventions such as advanced anaesthetics and roadside diagnosis.”

The new helicopter will cost £2.5million per year to run, with the charity relying solely on public donations to keep the air ambulance flying.

Copy Rebecca Wood