Photo 1: Dave Gilham in the Aeroplane G-PSGC (Piper Pawnee) which he was flying at the time he suffered a heart attack in mid-air

Photo 2: Magpas former patient Dave Gilham with Magpas Helimedix Paramedic Simon Standen at the Magpas Helimedix Operations Base

With each day that passes since 13th December last year, Dave Gilham says he counts his lucky stars that he’s still alive! On the afternoon of that fateful day Dave, who’s a member of the Peterborough and Spalding Gliding Club, was going about one of his duties flying a single seat plane and towing a fellow glider pilot higher and higher into the skies. When he reached 1200 feet, experienced pilot Dave was feeling horribly unwell; he felt dizzy and lightheaded and then suddenly his arms and hands started to tingle. He realised something was seriously wrong, so made the decision to abandon the tow and land immediately. This was the best judgement call of his life, Dave was having a heart attack.

Dave descended his aircraft and – against all odds – made a good landing. He then managed to get out of the plane and within a short distance of being driven to hospital, things steadily grew worse. 999 was dialled and an Ambulance Crew arrived, shortly followed by specialist medical team Magpas Helimedix, who flew to a nearby field and provided Dave with enhanced A&E level care in the back of an ambulance. Having stabilised Dave’s condition, the Helimedix then flew Dave to Papworth Hospital for further treatment.

Dave is 61 years old, he has been flying since 1980 and is a keen helicopter, fixed wing and glider pilot. He’s a non-smoker, a healthy eater and a regular exerciser; so it’s understandable for him to question as to why this was happening to him!

Three months on and Dave has made a remarkable recovery, he’s so well in fact, he’s on the way to getting back to flying once again! Dave sums things up by saying, “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the Magpas team, what incredible skills and expertise we have in this area!”. Recently, to celebrate Dave’s narrow escape and the fantastic news that he is on the verge to taking to the skies once more, Dave met up with one of the specialist Magpas Helimedix team, Paramedic Simon Standen, who helped to save his life that day. The visit was a really heartwarming occasion and it was truly wonderful to see Dave looking so well.