A serious road traffic accident near Market Rasen on December 18 saw Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance deploy its first night flying mission.
The pilot flew and landed the helicopter using night vision goggles to enable an extended skills medic to be on scene and deliver specialist skills to the patients.
Up until now, the Air Ambulance went off line at 4pm from late October through to the end of February, losing three vital hours of emergency support.
But now it is available to offer crucial emergency support in the winter rush hours, up to 7pm, after getting the green light from the Civil Aviation Authority.
These extra hours will enable the helicopter medics to offer a greatly improved service over the winter months, extending flying hours by around 480 hours a year.
“We have undergone very rigorous training and the charity has provided the aircraft with the best possible equipment to enable safe flight during darkness,” said Chief Pilot, Captain Paul Smith.
“While night flying will be challenging, it is a natural and necessary step for us to be able to provide round the clock emergency support to people across Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.”