Westpac welcomes new member to the team
The newest addition to Waikato’s Westpac Rescue Helicopter service was officially launched on Friday afternoon by Rt Hon John Key at Hamilton International Airport in front of a crowd of 300 Friends of the Rescue Helicopter, sponsors and supporters of the new helicopter project.
The new helicopter will greatly enhance the emergency air rescue capabilities for the region.
The BK117 850 B2 helicopter replaces the Bell 222B helicopter that has more than ably served the region since January 1995.
This new helicopter will provide:
a two-person 450lb rescue winch to extract and rescue people from remote areas and at sea
night vision capability to enable landing at night in remote areas
enhanced engine performance to allow full fuel loads to be carried on all missions
a modern, digital avionic suite coupled with a factoryfitted autopilot for single pilot instrument flight rules (IFR) operations.
All these result in an improved and more capable rescue helicopter service located within the Waikato region.
Major modifications have all been completed locally by Hamilton Aero Avionics and Flight Structures. Scott Simpson, Chief Avionics Engineer on the project, comments, ‘‘This project has been one of the most complex and challenging I have ever engaged in and it is very satisfying to see it performing so well.’’
‘‘All flight testing is complete and the helicopter is performing extremely well and exactly as planned,’’ says Grant Bremner, chief pilot of the Hamilton-based Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
Flight operations will commence before Christmas with the training of pilots and crews well under way.
Instead of the whop-whop sound of the Bell 222B, the public will hear a distinctively new ‘‘sound of life’’.
The total cost of $4.5m for the helicopter and modifications has only been possible by the extreme generosity of communities across Waikato and King Country, who have given more than $2m.
The fundraising project was announced at a function on 22 February 2011, coinciding with the date of the earthquake in Christchurch. Since this date there has been a long and sustained fundraising effort by the community culminating in the launch of the helicopter on December 6 2013. Key funding support: •$700,00 grant from WEL Energy Trust
•$517,101 gifted by Friends of the Rescue Helicopter (these are 4,321 Waikato households) •$107,987 raised by local Westpac staff
•$100,000 grant from NZ Community Trust towards the 600lb winch
•$75,000 grant from Trust Waikato
•$55,000 grant from Waikato Federated Farmers
•$50,000 grant from Lion from Com-
•$ 48,700 grant SkyCity Hamilton munity Trust
•$ 50,000 grant Grassroots Trust
•$348,914 raised through public fundraising events and additional grants
$ 2,052,702 total of funds raised towards capital appeal project.
For the minded: Helicopter BK 117 850 B2 Engines Lycoming LTS 101, 800hp each
Avionics Sandel EHSI SN 4500 Sandel dual SU 102 AHRS Sandel dual MT 112 flex sensors
Honeywell TAWS MK XXI08 Avidyne TAS 605 Honeywell weather radar Avidyne MFD Honeywell FZ 710 digital autopilot Garmin dual GPS 430W Avidyne TWX 670 stormscope King KRA 405 Rad Alt DF 517 Homer system A710 technosonic audio system with VoX DZM sat phone and tracker Pratt & Whitney Smart cycle engine trend monitoring
Numerous Police and Ambulance radios. 600lb 2-man rescue hoist Stryker stretcher kit Plumbed oxygen 6- place lightweight crew seating
30 million candle power NiteSun search light External 210 litre fuel tank Night vision compatible cockpit lighting.
LAUNCHED: Prime Minister John Key gives his seal of approval to the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter which will be used to transport patients all over Waikato.