site.btaUPDATED First Licensed HEMS Training Heliport Inaugurated in Dolna Mitropolia
Bulgaria's first licensed Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) training heliport and operational facility was inaugurated at the Georgi Benkovski Bulgarian Air Force Academy in Dolna Mitropoliya on Friday.
The heliport will be used to train cadets as HEMS pilots for the needs of the Bulgarian Air Force, the Bulgarian Navy and the Interior Ministry.
The first emergency medical helicopter will start working at the end of January of next year and will be based in Sofia Airport, Bulgaria Heli Med Services Executive Director Dimcho Dobrev told journalists later on Friday. The second helicopter is expected to arrive by June 30 in Dolna Mitropolia, he added.
Dobrev recalled that Bulgaria is about to acquire six helicopters to provide medical assistance by air. They will be based at six sites across the country. Currently, six pilots are being trained in Italy, and two members of the engineering and technical staff are leaving on Sunday, Dobrev added.
The process of building hospital helipads has already started so that patients and the injured can be admitted to a hospital in the respective perimeter of the helicopter's range of operations, Dobrev said.
The Academy's Rector, Brigadier General Yulian Radoyski, delivered a congratulatory address.
Speaking at the opening of the heliport, Defence Minister Todor Tagarev said that substantial resources are allocated for the equipment and training of the Armed Forces. In his words, the Cabinet has committed to maintain defence spending at a minimum of 2% of GDP. The Minister said further that the Government has also designated another land tract near the heliport that was opened on Friday, where a separate HEMS helipad will be built.
Civil Aviation Administration Directorate General Director General Anelia Marinova handed Brigadier General Radoyski the licensing documents for the cadet training heliport.
A Bell 26 helicopter from the 24th Air Base, Krumovo, an AS565 Panther helicopter from the Chayka Naval Air Base and an Agusta Westland helicopter of the Border Police landed at the heliport before the start of the ceremony. Transporting a casualty by a Panther helicopter was demonstrated.