The Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance will now give more emergency support in winter rush hours, thanks to a new light.
The air ambulance now has night flying operations, and already performed a number of airlifts in the dark.
The crew of the air ambulance team spent the last 18 months practicing night flying operations, while Chief Pilot and Deputy Chief Pilot have extensive night flying experience.
The crew now have certification in night flying, including the use of Night Vision Goggles (NVGs).
In the past, the air ambulance would be out of use from 4pm between October and February, meaning three hours of emergency support was lost.
Now, the team will be able to work until 7pm, extending its flying hours by 480 hours a year.
The MD902 Explorer helicopter the team uses is now fitted with special equipment such as a radar altimeter and night sun technology for use with NVGs.
They first made use of the night equipment on December 18, when Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance attended a road traffic accident near Market Rasen.
The charity noticed that over the past 12 months here has been a slight increase of medical emergencies it needs to attend.
Chief Pilot, Captain Paul Smith, said: “We have undergone very rigorous training and the charity has provided the aircraft with the best possible equipment to enable safe flight during darkness.
“While night flying will be challenging, it is a natural and necessary step for us to be able to provide round the clock emergency support to people across Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.”
Peter Aldrick, Chief Executive added: “It is important for the charity to fund equipment and training to enable the crew to fly after dark as this will allow us to extend flying hours.
“This is especially important in the winter months, when there are many more road accidents caused by the weather conditions.
“The equipment and training was paid for by donations and we would like to thank the people of Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire for allowing us to extend our essential lifesaving work.”