A HELICOPTER pilot from Malvern recruited a local software company to create a navigation app to make his relief missions in disaster-struck African countries easier.

Clive Langmead, aged 61, of the Wyche, flies for the charity Wings Like Eagles providing air support for disaster relief in south-east Africa.

And it was while flying over the flooded Limpopo valley in Mozambique last February that Mr Langmead got fed up with

scribbling busily in his notebook, recording place names, locations and other vital data.

He said: “I thought how much better it would be if I could put this straight onto my tablet and share it instantly, electronically, on landing, instead of copying it out longhand.”

He shared his idea with Dr Anneley McMillan from high-tech firm Helyx SIS, of Twyning, near Upton, which specialises in geographical information systems.

A year on, the software was ready for testing, and Mr Langmead and Dr McMillan hired a helicopter to test it over South Worcestershire.

A route was plotted between the Malvern Hills and the Vale of Evesham and the helicopter simulated a typical search and rescue mission.

Mr Langmead noted places and incidents on the tablet and after landing the whole map was transferred to a smartphone in seconds.

Mr Langmead described the results as "an amazing leap forward."" He said: “All that scrabbling around with notebooks and paper in the aircraft just disappears, and the accuracy was first class.”

“We certainly are at the cutting edge with this,” said Dr McMillan. "Though we have been working on this for a year the mapping technology only became available last month. We can certainly see a wide use for it. And with picture icons it can be used in any language.”