On Friday 6th November 2020 Eurocopter AS365N3 Dauphin II G-DOLF departed its home base of Bristol Airport for the last time. For over ten years the helicopter, registered to Executive Jet Charter Ltd, has been used by local businessman Sir James Dyson to connect his home at Dodington Park in South Gloucestershire and Dysons headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire with his private jets (Gulfstream G650 G-GSVI and Gulfstream G650ER G-VIOF which are also registered to Executive Jet Charter Ltd) hangared at Bristol Airport. He won’t be going without though as from 2011 Dyson has also operated at least one (and in more recent years two) AgustaWestland AW-139 helicopters as well as the Dauphin. Rumour has it that Sir James’ wife Deirdre preferred the sound quality of the Dauphin cabin, although this cannot be confirmed.
The Dauphin has now been procured by Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) and is believed to be destined for their Cumbria base at Langwathby, although currently it is understood to reside with Multiflight at their Leeds Bradford Airport maintenance facility. This is in fact the second of a pair of newly acquired helicopters, with G-SSKP, one of three helicopters owned by the late Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, being the other. G-DOLF is now registered G-NHAE and will replace GNAASs current Pride of Cumbria G-NHAB, an Aerospatiale AS365N2 Dauphin II.
Both Great North Air Ambulance and Multiflight have a long history with the Dauphin helicopter, so it’s understandable why the choice to upgrade to two slightly more modern versions of the aircraft was chosen over replacing them with a completely different type. Dysons Dauphin was capable of carrying eight passengers in luxury with a range of 350 miles. Once converted into an Air Ambulance fit it will be able to carry one patient plus a medical crew of three and a pilot.