Babcock night flights keep communities in Italy safe

Aerospace, Defence and Security company Babcock International is ramping up technology in its Italian air ambulance operation and having a major impact on its pilots’ ability to fly at night and keep communities safe.

Increasing in use by 75% over the last five years the ‘night flight’ is now a critical part of Babcock-managed air ambulances’ operational capability, allowing fast intervention in time-critical cases, such as heart attack, stroke, severe trauma and maternal-infantile emergencies.

Babcock air ambulance pilots undertaking night flights are no longer tied to using certified landing sites thanks to a change in flight regulations and the introduction into Italy, by Babcock, of two innovative solutions, namely night visions goggles (NVG) and a high intensity lighting system that is mounted under the helicopter.

Enabled by this technology and underpinned by specialised training and some adaptations to their helicopters, Babcock pilots are making full use of the NVG. To give some context, in the first 10 months of 2021 there have already been 5,445 night missions carried out, of which 2,737 have involved the use of NVG.

In recent months, technological research has allowed new developments and a further leap in the quality of night service. Thanks to the introduction of a new, high intensity headlight system, mounted under the helicopter body, the aircraft can now land at night, without ground lighting, ultimately becoming autonomous and able to intervene anywhere.

With over 35 years of experience in the air emergency services sector in Italy, its 52 helicopters, 270 pilots and the management of over 60% of the bases in the country, Babcock is the largest helicopter rescue service operator in the country and the first to have launched both the night service and the use of NVG.

Giuseppe Spoliti, CEO of Babcock Italia said: “The ability to use the helicopter, even at night, is of vital importance to reduce intervention times against many diseases and traumas, where a few minutes can change lives, allowing immediate intervention and transport. This is why Babcock is honored to have launched and developed this service in Italy.

“From the earliest stages of the study, we made all our know-how available to institutions and the health service, always with a view to being able to protect the health of citizens in any place and at any time of the day”, concluded Spoliti.

Babcock’s Chief Innovation and Technology Officer, Jon Hall added: “Right across our business our people are developing and integrating technology solutions that are having a direct impact on what we do and deliver across some of the most challenging environments we work in; in this case that direct impact is on people’s safety and their lives.

“Of course the innovation isn’t just in that technology, it’s in the extensive skills of our people who put the safety of others first every day, and for Babcock it’s about making that technology work for us, to create a safer, more secure world for all of us to live in.”