New appointment is flying high at Wiltshire Air Ambulance

By Anita Jaynes on 3 March, 2015

Matt Wilcock has taken up his first posting as a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) pilot at Wiltshire Air Ambulance (WAA).

Matt has made the switch to HEMS work after 17 years in the military where he flew a range of helicopters.

After graduating with an honours degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of London, Matt did his officer training at Sandhurst in 1998. He was commissioned into the Army Air Corps in 1999 and served across the world, including in Kenya where he flew Gazelle helicopters to pick up injured British troops serving at an Army training unit.

For the last six years he worked as a test pilot and instructor at Boscombe Down, near Amesbury, Wiltshire.

Matt, 38, completed his training on Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s new helicopter, the Bell 429, at Fairoaks, Surrey, and began flying the air ambulance earlier this month.

Matt said: “The public support for Wiltshire Air Ambulance is great. When we have landed at locations to attend an incident local people have offered their help, such as driving our paramedics from the helicopter to the scene.

“I like the role and challenge of flying an air ambulance. It’s unique in what it does in civilian flying and I can bring my 17 years of experience in the military, including night flying.

“The Bell 429 is a very stable, fast and comfortable aircraft. It’s got really good cabin space in the back for the paramedics to treat patients and the avionics on board allow us to do our job really well.

“There’s a good team spirit at Wiltshire Air Ambulance and I like the camaraderie. The team of paramedics are very calm and capable. They deal with pretty traumatic events on a daily basis and what impresses me the most is that they can talk about very complex procedures as if they are run of the mill.”

Matt will be leading the training on using Night Vision Goggles (NVG) for the pilots and paramedics at WAA to enable the air ambulance to fly at night.

Matt is married with three children and lives in Andover, Hampshire.

The other pilots are Steven Judd, Group Chief Pilot, George Lawrence, Unit Chief Pilot and Nicky Smith. The pilots are employed by Heli Charter and WAA leases the Bell 429 from Heli Charter under a 10 year contract.

Pictured above: Matt Wilcock, pilot at Wiltshire Air Ambulance