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HEMS Chief Pilot – England

Yorkshire Air Ambulance Logo

Closing date for applications: Monday 29th January 2018 at 5.00pm


Chief Pilot

Yorkshire Air Ambulance Charity

Cayley House

10 South Lane


West Yorkshire


01422 237900


Not everyone realises that the Yorkshire Air Ambulance relies solely on the generosity of individuals and organisations to help save lives across your region. In fact, as an independent Charity we only receive help through secondment of the paramedics from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust. We need to raise £12,000 per day to keep both of Yorkshire’s air ambulances and highly-trained crew in the air. This is the equivalent of £4.4M every single year.

As a rapid response lifesaving emergency service, our air ambulances serve a population of five million people across four million acres. Our two Airbus H145 helicopters operate from Nostell Priory near Wakefield in West Yorkshire and RAF Topcliffe near Thirsk in North Yorkshire, covering the whole of Yorkshire seven days a week, 365 days per year. Flying with NVIS commenced in the summer of 2017 and extends the hours of operation from between 0600 to 2400.

Wherever the air ambulance lands at the scene of an accident, it is a maximum of 20 minutes from a Major Trauma Centre for the patient’s injuries or illness.

Over 7,000 patients’ lives have been changed by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance since the Charity began in October 2000.


The structure of the YAA is unusual in so far as we do not have a Chief Executive. The Trustee Board consists of 11 trustees with different skill sets and expertise that they bring to the Charity. The Chairman is Peter Sunderland MBE, DL and the Vice Chair is Brian Chapman. The Board is very commercially focussed and has a broad spectrum of skills.

Day to day running of the Charity falls under the control of departmental Directors who form our Senior Management Team (SMT). Five SMT members are responsible for the business activity departments of Fundraising, Finance, Marketing & Communications, Operations, and Aviation. We are seeking to recruit a Chief Pilot to join our team, who will undertake both flying duties and daily management of flight operations, reporting to the Director of Aviation.

The Charity is very successful and has increased its income year on year over the last 10 years. In our last financial year (ending the 31st March 2017) we raised over £8,000,000. At the same time, the cost of generating this income was very low. We only spent £1,147,000 generating this income. The successful candidate will be expected to manage and control costs effectively.

We currently employ over 30 staff, with 6 of these working in the Aviation team, managed by the Director of Aviation. Unlike most other air ambulances in the UK, we directly employ pilots to fly the helicopters under our own Air Operators Certificate (AOC).

The Aviation Team & Responsibilities

The aviation team comprises a Director of Aviation, Chief Pilot, Line Pilots (all with secondary duties), and occasional freelance pilots.

They are based across two airbases to maximise response times across the Yorkshire region, and sometimes beyond. Yorkshire has a vast topography of 11900 sq kms that not only includes remote, rural and densely populated areas but also major motorways and road networks such as the M62, M1, A1 and M18.

Depending on base location and roster patterns, current operating hours throughout the year are from 6am to midnight during the week, with twelve-hour overlapping shifts at weekends.

We own and operate a dedicated Air Desk at Nostell ASU, allowing us to dispatch the helicopters and coordinate all Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) missions in Yorkshire. With the addition of Airwaves, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance has developed into a sophisticated emergency service that provides state-of-the-art medical care throughout the county.

Swift medical interventions provided by our Air Ambulance crews have a major impact on a patient's chance of survival and subsequent quality of life. A crew is typically made up of a single pilot, doctor, and paramedic, who is also qualified as a technical crew member (TCM), and this team is sometimes augmented by a second TCM trained in journalism.

Our helicopters, G-YAAC and G-YOAA, are both Airbus H145s with less than 800 hours since new. They carry medical equipment more sophisticated than you would find on a land ambulance, and offer a much larger cabin area to treat patients in flight. These helicopters provide exceptional flight performance and have significantly lower overall costs than our previous MD-902s. The H145 is also night capable, enabling the Charity to conduct NVIS operations and increase our flying hours to best support our partnership with the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

The successful candidate should have the ability to operate at senior pilot level flying within a UK or European HEMS operation, including significant night flying experience (ideally NVIS). The Chief Pilot is the Nominated Person for Flight Operations and, as such, appointment to this position will be conditional upon acceptance by the CAA. Previous experience as a Nominated Person at any level is desirable

An H145 type rating is also desirable, although training will be provided for the right candidate.

Strong planning, computer literacy, and organisational skills must be evident. You should be able to demonstrate effective management of flying resources and meeting service targets. You will also be required to demonstrate excellent leadership skills with the ability to effectively communicate and motivate a team.

This is a key senior role at the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and we are looking for the right person to continue in helping us operate and develop.



Chief Pilot


Nostell Priory ASU, or RAF Topcliffe, Thirsk


Director of Aviation


Maximum 60 hours per seven days in accordance with the approved FTL scheme, which will require working evenings, weekends, and statutory/public holidays. Maximum 2000 annualised hours.


The successful candidate will be required to fulfil extra duties at various points throughout the year, for which no overtime payments will be made. Such duties will always be managed within the scope of the FTL scheme, and an equal number of days off in lieu provided.

Suitable accommodation is provided FOC by the Charity at both air bases to manage fatigue.


28 or 30 including statutory/public holidays, depending on roster pattern


To carry out line flying duties, manage flight operations, and implement YAA aviation policy in compliance with EASA and CAA regulations when relevant

Key Responsibilities:

Implementing YAA operational policy as defined by the Accountable Manager, including the designated Management System

The organisation, efficiency, and management of all operational staff, including the appointment of aircrew and other operational personnel in consultation with the Accountable Manager

Standardisation of YAA flight operations, which implies a degree of independence to take decisions regarding personnel, equipment, and procedures to ensure the Charity are exposed to minimal risk

Management and storage of records to maintain FTLs, licensing, and flying currency for all pilots & TCMs operating on YAA aircraft

Undertaking line flying duties on the approved roster at either operational base, along with occasional shifts at the second YAA base

Issuing Flying Staff Instructions (FSIs) to encompass short‐notice changes in procedures

Ensuring operational bases have adequate flight planning facilities and access to relevant material such as weather reports, NOTAMS, AICs, and the AIP; and provide updated documentation such as CAA publications, maps and charts, and flight guides that might be required for the safe conduct of a flight

In conjunction with the Accountable Manager, producing and maintaining an Operations Manual (with MELs), Local Operating Procedures (LOPs), Helicopter Landing Site Directory (HLSD), and other documentation necessary for flight operations to function effectively

Liaising with the YAA Compliance Manager to ensure audits are conducted as per the OM schedule,

and implementing any changes required

Chairing the Safety Action Group, attendance at monthly Ops Board meetings, and liaising with YAS staff to ensure the Charity continues to deliver on its operational commitment

Managing workload to ensure all responsibilities are discharged effectively, facilitated by the provision of a defined number of rostered duties dedicated to the Chief Pilot function

Development of YAA pilots to best utilise personnel resources

To interface between pilots and the medical team ensuring effective and compliant communication

To lead the pilots to know what is expected of them and have the tools to deliver their objectives

To develop staff through the staff appraisal scheme and develop KPI’s for those who directly report to her/him

To ensure staff are managed effectively and are trained and developed for the future

Knowledge and Experience Required:


Either a current ATPL(H) or CPL(H) with Instrument Rating

A minimum of 2000 as Pilot in command of helicopters

A minimum of 500 hours as pilot-in-command of helicopters gained VMC overland with significant low flying experience, including 40 hours PIC at night

Suitably qualified to be the Nominated Person for Flight Operations

In depth knowledge of UK CAA requirements for HEMS operations

Experience with aviation documentation, including, safety management, quality, and compliance systems

Can demonstrate success in a working environment consisting of multiple sites

Flexible approach to work associated with a 365-day per year service delivery

Excellent Information Technology & MS Office skills

Strong team player with a collaborative style

Able to provide evidence (or willing to undergo assessment) of medical and fitness to ensure they meet CAA requirements

Previous experience as a senior pilot within HEMS operations

Access to own vehicle for business use with clean driving licence

Lives in, or prepared to relocate to the Yorkshire region


Previous experience as a Chief Pilot within HEMS operations

H145 type rating

January 2018

Chief Pilot

NVIS experience

Previous experience of working in charity operations

Skills and Abilities:

Planning Establishes priorities, monitors progress, and makes best use of resources. Monitors plans and activities of self and others on regular basis.

Communicating with others Pitches communication at the right level both verbally and in writing and checks for understanding. Good listening skills. Uses information to influence others. Able to give tough messages when required.

Leading a Team- Explains operational decisions meaningfully for others. Agrees objectives and accountabilities with others. Involves others to gain commitment. Develops staff to maximise potential

Quality Focus – Ensures that outputs are accurate and meet the standards and requirements. Recommends and supports initiatives to continually improve the quality of service, processes and systems.

Generating Ideas Continually seeking to improve the service offered by the team by coming up with improved systems and processes and added value activities. Considers pros and cons and impact on team and resources

Building Relationships Works well with others. Co- operates willingly with others. Able to quickly build effective relationships with all levels both internally and externally and meet the needs of the individual. Treats others with dignity and respect and able to gain the trust of others and build strong relationships with others.

Flexibility and Adaptability - Adopts a flexible and adaptable approach, taking on board the opinions of colleagues. Recovers well from setbacks and resistance from others and remains calm under pressure and focused on the task. Encourages others to do the same.

Making Decisions - Anticipates issues and takes action to address underlying cause. Reaches effective decisions by gathering and analysing relevant information balancing cost, benefit and risk implications. Considers options, weighs up pros and cons before deciding on action.

Delivering Results - Accepts accountability and ownership. Ensures that they and the team deliver on time and to required standard. Has high standards and leads by examples. A good role model. Creates enthusiasm in others.

Self-Motivated - Works well on their own or as part of a team. Demonstrates a positive attitude and the willingness to use initiative. Energetic and enthusiastic.

Additional Information:

£67k to £72k plus bonus, depending on skills and experience

Discretionary annual staff bonus scheme based on the Charity’s financial performance and personal KPIs

Mileage expenses for use of own car

Contributory pension scheme

Private Medical Insurance

Life Assurance

Aircrew medicals provided by Yorkshire Air Ambulance

Confirmation in post subject to completion of a successful 6-month probationary period

The successful applicant will be subject to a full Disclosure and Barring (DBS) check

First interviews will take place at Cayley House, Elland on either Thursday 15th or Friday 16th February 2018

Start date for the successful applicant to commence in June/July 2018

The successful applicant will be subject to a full Disclosure and Barring (DBS) check.

If you wish to discuss the job role in more detail, please contact Captain Andy Lister, Director of Aviation on 07785 622 428

Closing date for applications: Monday 29th January 2018 at 5.00pm

To apply for this position, please fully complete the Application Form (downloadable from our website www.yaa.org.uk or available upon request by calling 01422 237900).

Returned applications should be forwarded with a covering letter including current package and salary expectations.

Where possible, we would prefer completed applications to be emailed back to us. Instructions of where to send applications are included on the Application Form.

For further information about the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, please visit www.yaa.org.uk .

Source: Work at the YAA - Yorkshire Air Ambulance