PARAMEDICS and air ambulance pilots spent yesterday afternoon getting used to flying their stand-in helicopter.

For many of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance staff members it was a trip down memory lane. The MD 902 aircraft owned by Specialist Aviation Services is the same make and model operated by the air ambulance charity until 2014.

The new helicopter is a stand-in for Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s own Bell 429 aircraft, grounded earlier this month after a systems fault was discovered by a pilot and firm Heli Charter, which owned and operated the state-of-the-art aircraft went bust.

Earlier this week, Wiltshire Air Ambulance chief executive David Philpott said: “Specialist Aviation Services is a company we’ve enjoyed an excellent working relationship with for nearly 30 years and we’re very pleased that they’ve been able to move so fast to get us back in the air."

A charity spokesman said yesterday paramedics and pilots had made a test flight in the new MD 902 to get used to the aircraft. As of 4pm, the helicopter had not been scrambled to a 999 call.

Last year, Wiltshire Air Ambulance were called 1,103 incidents.