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Private foundation plans air ambulance service in Pakistan
hussain | February 15, 2009 at 12:50 pmby
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Pakistan's sole Gyro pilot Rehan Janjua carried out the first test flight of the Gyro helicopter in Malikpur area of this mountainous district on Sunday that was successfully accomplished.
The Gyro helicopter, powered by a petrol engine, was flown at high altitude after taking off from a small runway beside the Siran River on a test flight. The local people gathered at the venue in a large number to witness the flight, which was also a big fun for them.
Group Captain (R) Mujeebur Rahman Khan, who heads the Foundation and designed the copter, said that the foundation was going to change the small copter into air ambulance, saying, "This one-seat Gyro helicopter is much expensive on the international market and the price ranged from Rs6.5 million to Rs7 million, but we would produce it locally just for Rs1.5 million to Rs2 million, even with two seats and a stretcher facility."
Mujeeb linked a large-scale human loss in the October 8, 2005 earthquake due to inaccessibility of the aid workers to the mountainous areas and blockade of the roads. "That sad event prompted me to manufacture Gyro helicopter for launching a free of cost air ambulance service in the remote and backward areas of the country," he said.
Mujeeb said this was the reason for launching this air ambulance service from Mansehra as a pilot project where people in large number lost their lives in the 2005 quake."
He said the service would be expanded to other places that were located in the far-flung areas of the country with the induction of a fleet of 80 indigenously made air ambulances.
The retired Pakistan Air Force (PAF) officer said volunteer pilots would be trained, who would not only run the service but also the affairs of the foundation as well.
He said that because of the consumption of ordinary petrol in the Gyro copter, its operational cost was far less than that incurred on the operation of a helicopter saying; "Because of such meagre operational cost, we would easily meet the expenses and the service would be highly beneficial in the provision of the emergency health services to the people of the rough terrain."
Mujeeb got retirement after 30 years of his service in the Pakistan Air Force. He said that Gyro helicopter was easy to fly as a person could be trained with only 15-hours flying experience. He said such an air ambulance service would be the first of its kind in Asia.
Mujeeb appealed to the well-off and influential people to come forward to help his foundation spread the air ambulance service to inaccessible and backward areas of the country, saying, "Thousands of people die every year in the inaccessible areas due to lack of emergency healthcare services and if a human being does not help another who would do it."
He said that Gyro helicopter could lift about 500kg of weight or luggage with normal flight at the highest altitude.