Operating base FAQs

We are so grateful for your feedback as we embark on our proposed airbase relocation. But we understand that you may have some questions about why we believe Unit H George Curl Way near Southampton Airport is an appropriate location for our headquarters. Please see our frequently asked questions below.


  • By relocating to a central location, we will be able to reach almost every patient in Hampshire or the Isle of Wight within 10 minutes of take-off.

  • Neither site offers the central location required, nor has the quality road links to patients (the majority of whom are along the M27 corridor). In addition, neither site currently has – to our knowledge – a suitable hangar for sale. Lasham would leave the Isle of Wight more than 10 minutes flight time away, while Solent Airport would do the same for Basingstoke and Andover.

    11 minute flight times from Eastleigh, Lasham and Solent Airport:

  • For now, the plan is to continue flying 19 hours a day, with our service ending at 02:00 each morning before beginning again at 07:00. A move to a more central location will make our response cars a preferable option at night, so we would expect to reduce the number of missions we fly after dark. A noise impact study has determined this move will have no adverse noise impact and no mitigations are required. Our aircraft is surprisingly quiet, however, we intend to be good neighbours and will take all practical measures to reduce noise close to residential properties.

  • Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance fly an Airbus H135 T3. The H135 is one of the most popular aircrafts among air ambulance charities due to its reliability, safety and efficiency. The H135 is of particular benefit to air ambulances serving urban areas as its low downwash, compact body and shrouded tail rotor allow the aircraft to land almost anywhere, delivering medical crews right to the scene of an incident. The H135 is also the aircraft of choice for helicopter emergency medical services across the world due to its extremely low acoustic footprint, making it one of the quietest aircraft of its type.

    At an altitude of 150 metres, an observer on the ground would experience sound levels of around 73dB. This is equivalent to a modern city bus passing at a distance of 15 metres. Our aircraft generally flies at a cruising altitude of 450 metres so the actual noise experienced at ground level is likely to be closer to 73dB as we fly overhead. This is comparable with the volume of a small passing car.

  • We use a Trakka search light to identify landing sites at night. It is particularly useful in identifying the location of a patient, or power and telephone cables. This is not required when landing at our airbase.

  • These plans will reduce Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance’s overall carbon footprint as we can choose cars over air travel more often. In addition, the distances we will have to travel will be dramatically reduced by being in a central position which is closer to the majority of our patients. We intend to build an environmentally friendly airbase with electric vehicle charging points, renewable energy, secure cycle parking and achieving biodiversity net gain.

  • It is not uncommon for air ambulances to base themselves at commercial airports. Indeed, Southampton’s sister airports, Aberdeen and Glasgow are both home to air ambulance services. We are working with Southampton Airport, Air Traffic Control and others to come up with an aviation plan that works for all. It is worth noting that we already fly into Southampton Airport from time to time. We do not necessarily need to use the runway.

  • Our proposed new airbase is roughly the same distance from Basingstoke as our existing Thruxton base. Yes, we will be moving further from Andover and towns and villages along the Hampshire-Wiltshire border, but as we will spend much less time travelling from the northwest to the southern extremities of our region, we expect to be restocked, refuelled and ready to respond to emergencies across the region more quickly. Our proposed relocation will allow us to reach almost the entirety of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight within 10 minutes flight time.

  • We will continue to serve every corner of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Equally, we will continue to work closely with our partners at Thames Valley Air Ambulance and Air Ambulance Kent, Surrey and Sussex to provide mutual aid and support into each other’s respective regions in the north and east of our patch.

    The diagram below shows 10 minute flight times from various air ambulance bases in southern and central UK. Our airbase and 10 minute flight time radius is shown in green and centred on Andover. KSS (Air Ambulance Kent, Surrey and Sussex) are in pink to the east. Thames Valley Air Ambulance are in blue to the north. It currently takes us up to 15 minutes to reach the Hampshire/Surrey border.

    The diagram below shows a 10 minute flight time from our proposed new base in Eastleigh. You can see we have closed the gap to the east of our region, and would be able to offer an improved service to residents living in that area.

  • It is early days and these are only proposals at this stage, however we see no reason our service would be impacted while we make the move. If there is a period where our aircraft is offline, we will respond by road vehicle and request support from Coastguard and neighbouring air ambulances to cover the Isle of Wight. Any such period is likely to be short.

  • As a freehold, the new site allows us to invest in our future and precisely create the operating base we need. This will allow us to build dedicated spaces for training, medical research and patient aftercare services.

  • We are working with NATS (Air Traffic Control), the Civil Aviation Authority, SCAS, Southampton Airport, local councils and colleagues at UHS, Green Deck and Babcock.

  • We will largely be utilising our reserves; money which currently sits in investments but can instead be used to buy and develop this new airbase. The airbase will immediately begin saving us money, as we will no longer lease two separate buildings for our teams and operations. In addition, we intend to lease out some of the spare space in the new building, thus generating income to fund our lifesaving service. Some of the costs of redeveloping the building and making it fit for purpose will be met from a public appeal.

  • There is much to do before we can be certain around dates, but we would hope to occupy and utilise our new operating base from Summer 2025.

Please email us if you have a question that we have not yet answered and we will do our best to respond to you.

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