A YORK television production company has been enlisted by Yorkshire Air Ambulance to create a virtual version of one of its rescues.

Air Television, based at the Ron Cooke Hub, within the University of York, has created a virtual reality experience for the charity which wanted to give people an insight into its life-saving work.

Using special VR headsets, viewers can become a paramedic setting off on a mission, a patient being transferred from the helicopter to hospital, and see what it’s like to be sat in the aircraft cockpit as you approach the landing pad of one of the region’s Major Trauma Centres.

There will also be an immersive tour of Yorkshire Air Ambulance’s air support unit at Nostell, near Wakefield.

Director of marketing and communications at Yorkshire Air Ambulance Abby Barmby said: “By embracing this innovative technology we can engage with existing and potential supporters in a very different way, to give them a better understanding of the life-saving work we do, and how money is spent.”

The project is the latest in a series of work between the charity and Air Television, including the popular television series Helicopter ER.

Matt Richards, series producer at Air Television, which recently won two Royal Television Society awards for their work on the series, 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 charity is fabulous to work with and have been very keen to explore with us what can be achieved using this evolving immersive technology.”

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