Bose and Wings and Things donates thirty headphones to AMS

By Willie Bodenstein


Bose's A-2 headsets, thirty of which were donated to Air Mercy Services.

Founded in 1964 by Amar Bose, Bose is a privately held American Corporation that designs, develops and sells audio equipment. The company produces headphones for consumer, aviation and military use. The models range includes in-ear headphones, mobile headsets, supra-aural headphones, Circumoral headphones and military/aviation headsets. The company was the first to release active noise cancelling headphones as a consumer product after its founder Dr. Amar Bose went on a 1978 flight to Europe and was trying out new set of airline-supplied headphones and found that he couldn't really enjoy the sound with the roar of engines in the background. In 1986, Bose applied their noise-cancellation technology to develop headphones to protect the hearing of pilots participating in the first un-refuelled non-stop around-the-world flight in the Rutan Voyager.


Colin Blanchard, owner & CEO of Wings and Things facilitated the donation of the headsets.

Wings 'n Things, a specialist pilot's shop catering for all levels of aviation enthusiasts based at Lanseria and Grand Central airports is the authorised dealers of some of the world's premium aviation brands including Jeppesen, David Clark and ASA. They are also resellers of Pooley's, Garmin, Icom, RAM Mounts and many more local and international aviation brands which includes Bose headsets. Colin Blanchard, owner & CEO has for a number of years been selling repair kits for headsets used by the pilots to the general trade as well as to Air Mercy Service.


AMS's facilities at Cape Town International Airport.


An AMS Pilatus PC-12 taxing to take-off for another mercy mission.


Smiling broadly after having been handed their new headsets two of AMS's Pilots getting ready for another mission.


An AMS Eurocopter leaving on a mission

Air Mercy Service (AMS), is a Cape Town based non-profit organisation that has become a vital conduit for the delivery of emergency and critical healthcare services to rural and urban areas. Established in 1966 by the SA red Cross Society and formed into an independent trust in 1994 AMS has bases in the Western Cape (Cape Town & Oudtshoorn) and KwaZulu-Natal (Durban & Richards Bay) that provides an air ambulance network, outreach and emergency rescue services. It is the mission of the AMS to support state-run programmes, innovatively rendering rural outreach programmes, clinical training and development for stakeholders and emergency aero-medical/rescue services.


Colin handing over the headsets to members of AMS.

The inner seals of headsets through frequent use need to be replaced on average every six months and replacement cost can be as high as R1000 per set. The cost, especially to a not for profit company like AMS, over a period can be quite expensive and when Colin again received an order from AMS for a large number of replacement seals he approached Bose, who sets the price of the product, for permission to reduce his margin on the kits and to involve Century Avionics to reduce their margins on the repair side and so reduce overall cost to AMS. Initially Bose suggested that all the AMS headsets be refurbished until they heard how many sets were involved when they decided to, at no cost, replace all thirty headsets.


AMS also support state-run programmes, innovatively rendering rural outreach programmes, clinical training and development for stakeholders.

During the official handover of the thirty headsets Colin said “We are grateful to our long-term partner Bose, for their generous assistance that enabled us to contribute to this opportunity. We at Wings 'n Things are truly excited to have been given the opportunity to play a part in facilitating this great initiative between Bose Aviation and the AMS to have been able to arrange something that will ease the financial burden at an operational level and allow them to invest these resources into their services to the communities that they serve. With the Bose A20 headsets they are also ensuring the health of their pilot's hearing to enable them to function at the high level which is expected of them.”


Dr. Philip Erasmus AMS CEO during his address said that The ongoing support of Bose and Wings and Things will ensure that they can focus on the task at hand to continue to provide an innovative, quality and rapid aero-medical service to all communities.

Dr. Philip Erasmus, AMS' CEO said that the aero-medical environment is a challenging environment where providing care for critically ill and injured patients in the confined space of an aircraft is crucial. Communication between pilots and paramedics during all phases of flight and patient care in the cabin is vital to ensure safety during every mission. The greater noise reduction feature of the Bose headsets assists with decreasing crew fatigue and improves the quality of the communication through the headsets between the crew members. The ongoing support of Bose and Wings and Things will ensure that they can focus on the task at hand to continue to provide an innovative, quality and rapid aero-medical service to all communities.

Aviation Economy








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