Tired of London, Tired of Life - A website about things to do in London

21 February 2010

Watch out for the London Air Ambulance

It's not a thing that you should aim to ride, but it good to know it's there. The London Air Ambulance is a vital part of the city's infrastructure, carrying out around 1,500 missions a year and providing an invaluable link, to allow patients to be treated quickly without having to sit in an ambulance in traffic.

London has had an air ambulance since 1989, and it began working out of Biggin Hill, but moved to The Royal London on Whitechapel Road in 1990, when it was felt a more central base was needed. Your author still hears it there almost daily as he pedals down the Whitechapel Road, and often sees it in other areas of London, touching down anywhere it can find space, such as on Euston Road in the picture above.

The Ambulance costs £2.25 million a year to run, and is only part-funded by the NHS. The rest of the funding comes from donations to its registered charity, which come from ordinary people and corporate donors, the most conspicuous of which is Virgin, whose logo appears on the side of the helicopter.

For more information, or to make a donation, see http://www.londonsairambulance.com, or find the Ambulance on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TheHelipad

^Picture by Lamrock - images^


  1. Hi Melissa,

    I wouldn't be surprised as they're a pretty busy bunch...


  2. I live in Bethnal Green on a top floor of an apartment block and when they come in to land at Whitechapel their flight path is pretty much level with my lounge window - it's pretty amazing, you can literally give them a wave!

    It's great to know it's there of course should you ever need it, and I reckon the pilots must be pretty skilled flying and landing in central London. Interestingly, it doesn't have a tail rotor like most helicopters, but a small jet engine which means it can fly in really tight spaces and turn sharply too. Coo, font of useless info I am! The jet engine is why it makes that really loud high pitch whining noise instead of the usual 'thud thud thus' helicopter noise. It's LOUD!

  3. That is interesting Mark, I always wondered if they had any specific equipment to allow them to land in the middle of town.

    I, too, can can vouch for the loudness. It makes a real din when it's on top of the Royal.