LECTURE: Alan Bristow Memorial Lecture

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Military helicopters have routinely provided casualty evacuation from war zones since the latter part of World War 2 up to the present day but, largely unnoticed outside the helicopter community; Alan Bristow was an early pioneer of civilian helicopters being used in the air ambulance role.

In the late 1940’s albeit in a war zone, Alan Bristow was the first civilian helicopter pilot to accept the challenges and overcome the difficulties of providing a casualty evacuation / air ambulance service with the small and underpowered Hiller 360. Alan’s sometimes hair raising flying exploits saw him awarded the Croix de Guerre for his work with the French military during the French Indo-China war.

Modern commercial air ambulance services have come a long way since those early days of single pilot operations using rudimentary helicopters with limited operating capabilities and cabin space. Starting in the late 80’s, Bond Air Services pioneered civil helicopter air ambulance operations in the UK using the Bolkow Bo105 and were fully committed to providing a comprehensive helicopter support network in this role. Such vision and commitment is why today, Bond is the biggest provider of helicopters for UK commercial air ambulance operations.

The helicopters used by Bond Air Services today are modern powerful airframes with a full suite of sophisticated flying aids that are fully equipped for the air ambulance role and routinely performing many ‘mercy missions’ on mainland UK every day. The flights are flown by the company’s highly trained professional flight crews who are able to place the doctors and paramedics alongside a casualty regardless of how remote or difficult it may be.

Captain Peter Cummings, Bond Air Services Director of Operations, will set the scene and share the challenges and difficulties of providing a modern air ambulance service that works effectively on a regional basis with a large number of charitable and NHS hospital trusts.

About the speaker

Captain Cummings sold his house and all his possessions and left a secure, well paid job as a computer systems analyst in September 1987 to learn to fly helicopters in Arizona USA.  He returned to the UK in November 1989 and joined Veritair in Cardiff as a line pilot flying the Bell 206B/L. Capt. Cummings became a police pilot at the Central Counties Air Support Unit in August 1992, leaving as Chief Pilot to join Bond Helicopters in September 1997. He worked as a Police/HEMS pilot until becoming a Training Captain in May 2005, then Chief Training Captain in January 2007. Captain Cummings became Director of Operations in April 2010.  He is an ATPL(H)/IR, Company TRI/TRE/IRI and 170A signatory. 7500 Hours rotary.

The lecture will follow with a reception, kindly sponsored by -

Refreshments will be served from 17.30hrs and the lecture will commence at 18.00hrs.

Please RSVP to the Conference & Events Department at [email protected]

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  • Event venue: Royal Aeronautical Society Headquarters
    Address: No.4 Hamilton Place, London, United Kingdom, W1J 7BQ - View Map Below

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