Half century for TT helicopter

The Hoggery helicopter

The Hoggery helicopter

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A TT fanatic who has been visiting the event since 1947 is hoping to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the airmed helicopters this year.

Ian Huntly was at the races in 1963 when the aircraft was first used and had a particular interst in it as it was a key factor in saving the life of his friend Tony Godfrey after he was seriously injured in a crash at Milntown.

Mr Huntly has produced a commemorateve plaque which he intends to have placed at the Hailwood centre at the back of the TT Grandstand – the nearest place he can manage to the usual take-off and landing site for the helicopters in the nearby sports field.

‘Tony survived thanks to the prompt attention he received but it’s a part of TT history that I think is getting forgotten. In 1963 not many people seemed to know about it and some just said it would not make any difference but it went out to Tony who was a friend of mine and literally saved his life. Had we not had it over the years there would certainly have been more deaths,’ he said.

Though he is sinking his own money into the project, he is hoping people will also contribute towards the cost by buying shares in the plaque.

Anyone wanting to be a part of the commemoration can log on to the internet auction site Ebay where they can buy a share in the plaque for £10 or £20 and in return get a certificate.

Last year Mr Huntly commemorated Bob McIntyre’s 99.58mph ‘nearly 100mph’ lap on a 250cc Honda by placing a plaque on the wall of the Sulby Glen hotel, the point at which McIntyre broke down immediately in front of a youthful Mr Huntly.

Just four years earlier McIntyre had cracked the 100mph lap on a 500cc Gilera.

Mr Huntly said he had considered placing the latest plaque at Milntown itself but felt there may be road safety issues due to limited parking should people stop to look at it so had decided on the Hailwood Centre instead.

He hopes Dr David Stevens will unveil the plaque on the Thursday of practice week.

The helicopters, which have a top speed of 150mph, take about five to six minutes from radio alert to arrival at the scene. Average time on the ground stabilising the casualty and loading them into the aircraft is well within 10 minutes. The aircraft flies the casualty to the hospital’s helipad and one of the Hogg Motorsport Association ambulances transfers them to casualty. The average time from falling off to arriving in hospital is under 20 minutes.

Dr Stevens said: ‘In this day and age without the helicopter there would not be any TT course events. That is the enormity of it - it simply could not happen.’

Search Ebay for commemorative plaque TT helicopter.

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