AN AIR ambulance is using the latest virtual reality technology to give people an insight into its life-saving work.

Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) is using fully immersive, 360 degree virtual reality to give people an insight into what it’s like to be a crew member or patient on board an emergency helicopter.

Using special virtual reality (VR) headsets, viewers can see what it’s like to be sat in the aircraft cockpit as they approach a landing pad at a major trauma centre, become a medic setting off on a mission or a patient being transferred from the helicopter to hospital.

The charity is believed to be one of the first air ambulance services in the country to use the technology as a fundraising and awareness-raising tool.

Yorkshire Air Ambulance have worked with York-based Air Television, which makes the popular UKTV series Helicopter ER which follows the life-saving work of the rapid response emergency charity.

Matt Richards, a series producer at Air Television said: “Descending into the heart of Leeds in VR is almost as dramatic as doing it for real. Viewers can turn their heads to see tower cranes and high-rise blocks sliding past, see pedestrians staring up or watch and listen as the pilot talks us through the touchdown on the Leeds General Infirmary’s rooftop helipad.

“This is really exciting technology and we are delighted to be breaking new ground with Yorkshire Air Ambulance in this innovative way.”

The rapid response emergency charity is also looking for Yorkshire companies to help it develop the project.

YAA's director of marketing, Abby Barmby, said: “Although we have some initial kit to get us started, we really want to have more headsets available for use.

"We are looking for other companies who would be willing to support this project with either donations of VR equipment or sponsorship. If anyone is interested, please do get in touch.”

Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) serves five million people across Yorkshire and carries out over 1,250 missions every year.

The charity operates two, state-of-the-art Airbus H145 helicopters and needs to raise £12,000 every day to keep saving lives.