Midlands Air Ambulance Charity remain operational after nightfall
"We chose Leading Edge as the best in class provider of off-grid power solutions. Leading Edge offered us a bespoke solution that not only reliably powers our product's core components but also delivers a seamless mounting arrangement that includes battery housing and fitted neatly into our design."
Fraser MacKay, Commercial Director
FEC Heliports Worldwide
Midlands Air Ambulance Charity (MAAC) responds to an average of 2,000 emergency incidents each year, making it one of the busiest air ambulance organisations in the UK.
Until the introduction of FEC Heliports portable helipad lighting, night flying operations were restricted to licensed night aerodrome locations and trauma centres with night landing facilities.
The development of HEMS-Station® Solar Plus now provides a complete helipad lighting solution for the Air Ambulances helicopters to use in the hours of darkness. A network of these secondary landing sites has now been created using this technology and includes Birmingham, Tamworth, Cheadle and Hereford.
The solution is a solar powered LED helipad lighting system that is securely stored and charged ready for deployment. Autonomous power is provided by the Leading Edge SolarBox, a pole-mounted enclosure topped by a 100W DC Solar professional grade panel into which neatly fits the 20Ah AGM battery and a MPPT solar controller. The DC Solar panel utilises best in class monocrystalline “SunPower” cells, world renowned for quality, robustness and high outputs under challenging conditions.
“We chose Leading Edge as the best in class provider of off-grid power solutions for HEMS-Station® Solar Plus,” said Fraser MacKay, Commercial Director at FEC Heliports Worldwide.
“Critical to the application of this product is a secure autonomous power supply. Leading Edge offered us a bespoke solution that not only reliably powers our product’s core components but also delivers a seamless mounting arrangement that includes battery housing and fitted neatly into our design.”
As well as charging the LED helipad lights, the SolarBox powers a wind sock and communications equipment that facilitates pilot control of the lighting and allows for remote monitoring of the installation. The helipad becomes operational thanks to community volunteers who retrieve the LED helipad lights from a secure enclosure and rapidly mark out a safe landing area for the helicopter. The LED lights can then be quickly illuminated on demand (manually or remotely from the cockpit). The benefits to MAAC is the system requires pretty much zero maintenance (monthly checks only) and extremely low running costs.