Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Pride of Cumbria II.

After months of updates and continued fundraising the Great North Air Ambulance is welcoming their new helicopter to its Langwathby home.

The excitement on the ground was overwhelming waiting for the new aircraft to come into view.

The multi-million pound helicopter has spent the morning getting acquainted with the county and giving the people who helped to buy her a first glimpse.

The charity’s chief executive, David Stockton, said: “It goes without saying the last year has been a real struggle with estimated losses due to Covid of about £100,000 per month.

“Last summer, the Guardian of the North II arrived at the charity and now, with the addition of the Pride of Cumbria II, we have completely revamped our aircraft and it’s time to look forward, not back.

“The ongoing support of the people of Cumbria has been phenomenal and this new helicopter is our way of repaying that loyalty, which in turn, will allow us to save many more lives and keep families together.”

The Pride of Cumbria was due for routine maintenance next year which was set to cost around £500,000 – money the charity could not justify spending on such an old aircraft.

The new Dauphin N3 aircraft is expected to serve Cumbria for about 15 years and is part of the charity’s wider plans to expand the service.

GNAAS pilot, Phil Lambert, said: “I’m so excited about the arrival of the Pride of Cumbria II. It’s very rare I get to drive a new car so you can imagine how I felt when I found out I was going to get to fly a new helicopter. A new car is exciting, but a new helicopter is next level stuff.

“I think we are going to be so busy in Cumbria this summer and the advantage of this new helicopter is that it can carry a lot more fuel meaning we can potentially go to three jobs before refuelling instead of just one.”

Although GNAAS was able to fund the deposit on the aircraft through savings, it now needs to raise £40k a month to cover the loan repayments on the helicopter, and is asking supporters to do what they can to help meet the costs.