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Up, Up and Away!

Up, Up and Away!

A model of the iconic yellow and grey air ambulance will soon be soaring the skies – thanks to model enthusiast Matthew.

Introduced to aeromodelling by his father, Matthew Atherton from Cheshire has grown up loving aviation from a very early age and has been building and flying models all his life.

Matthew’s love of aircraft doesn’t just stop there, he has also been a Pilot for around 25 years, and he now operates the Airbus A320 fleet from Liverpool airport as a Captain.

“During my aeromodelling career, I have built and flown many models. I build and fly rotary wing including helicopters and gyroplanes, and fixed-wing including jets, gliders and electric power.

“This project started from a desire to build an AgustaWestland 109 (AW109) to join my other scale helicopters. I loved the air ambulance scheme, and this AW109 air ambulance is the only one in the country,” says Matthew.

Matthew has invested around 75 hours into his project which consisted of a three-phase build:

  • The mechanics were built and flown until all systems were proven and tuned – He completed several flights of the mechanics to this end, not to mention several re-designs of various mechanical pieces.
  • The fitment of the mechanics to the scale fuselage – He completed this phase of the build including the cutting of many clearance holes in the body shell, the custom construction of the wooden internal structure that supports the flight mechanics.
  • The removal of the mechanics from the body shell to allow painting and other scale details – He completed most of this using a mixture of airbrush techniques, and automotive rattle can paint, matched carefully to the details supplied for the full-sized aircraft, although adjusted slightly for the scale. The mechanics are then re-introduced to the body shell.

The model air ambulance’s maiden flight will soon be underway, the mechanics have already flown a number of times, but not yet with the body shell fitted.

The field close to where Matthew and his wife, Gwen, live is beginning to open up after the current restrictions, so he hopes to get out with his model aircraft very soon.

On behalf of Your Local Air Ambulance, Trish Arnett adds: “I have found it really interesting learning about how Matthew made the model – I can really see his passion and dedication to the art.

“The model carries the iconic look of Your Local Air Ambulance and I look forward to seeing footage of it in flight!”

Your Local Air Ambulance which covers Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland, as well as Warwickshire and Northamptonshire, have recently begun their helicopter replacement project, sticking with the AW109 aircraft that Matthew has made a model of – the world’s fastest Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) aircraft.

To read more about the AW109 and why it is chosen by Your Local Air Ambulance, click here