Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service operates as part of NSW Emergency Services.
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service has two dedicated base operations at Tamworth and Broadmeadow in Newcastle. At each base there are hangar and engineering facilities, crew accommodation and office space for administration staff. The bases also includes refueling and maintenance facilities. .
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service operates four helicopters from its two bases. All the aircraft are twin-engine, single pilot all weather machines, supported by a team of highly skilled aircraft engineers.
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service has a fleet of four twin-engine helicopters. These helicopters have been fitted out with state of the art aeromedical and flight equipment. .
Bell 412 SP
There are two Bell 412 helicopters. The helicopter specifications include:
- Engine Pratt and Whitney twin jet engines rated at 1800 shaft horsepower.
- Speed 120 knots (220 km per hour). Range 300 nautical miles (550 km).
- Endurance 2.5 hours. \
- Single pilot IFR (Instrument Flight Rules).
- Weather Radar.
- 2 Man Rescue Hoist (90 m cable).
- 2 fully accessible stretcher positions.
- Carry a crew of 3 plus 2 medical crewCapable of carrying one neonatal units with parents and medical staff and crew.
- Operationally capable of carrying parents or relatives on most missions.
- On board oxygen 2 'D' cylinders, with 4 outlets ans 1 electric suction unit.
- Fully controlled medical lighting.
- 30 million candle power Nitesun Searchlight.
- GPS Navigation System.
- All UHF and VHF Ambulance and Police communications.
- Mobile telephone/satellite telephone.
- Emergency Beacon Homer.
- Equipped with night vision goggles (NVG)
- Wire detection equipment
- Aircraft proximity warning device
There are two BK117 Rescue Helicopters in operation.
The specifications of the BK117 machines include:
- Cruise Speed 120 knots (220 klm), Endurance/Range 2 hours (+ 20 minutes reserve)/ 440 kilometres
- Fuel usage 300 litres/hour
- Weight maximum 3350kg, payload 1100kg (including fuel)
- Crew 1 pilot, 1 crewman + 2 Ambulance Officers or a Doctor and Nurse
- Patients - 1 stretcher + 2 sitting
- Engines 2 x Lycoming 750 shaft horse power
- Maximum height 10,000ft
- Single Pilot IFR Autopilot 2 person hoist. 270 FT cable length, 272 KG maximum load
- Night Sun 30.000.000 cadle power
- Auto pilot
- Satellite phone
- Nitesun search light, 30,000.000 candle power
- Colour weather radar with both vertical & horizontal modes
- Dual GPS with integrated moving map graphic system
- Laptop computer based Moving Map system
- CDMA/Satellite Phone
- Emergency Services Radios - UHF, VHF Hi & Lo, GRN\
- On Board Oxygen system
- HF/UHF Homer
There are a number of jobs on board the Rescue Helicopter. Each person has a dedicated job to ensure that missions are safe and efficient.
The pilot sits on the right-hand side of the aircraft and is responsible for flying the aircraft. The Service has a team of highly experienced pilots that have worked in the military and private sectors all around the world. Each pilot must undertake ongoing training and assessments annually.
The air crewman sits on the left hand side of the cabin and assists the pilot with communication, navigation and landing by providing the pilot with accurate clearance, helicopter safety and operating the rescue winch. The aircrewman has a dual role as a Rescue Crewman in addition.
The rescue crewman assists in the rear of the aircraft with the securing of all equipment, safety in and around the helicopter and Down the Wire Operations (DTWO). The Rescue Crewmen are Mostly Air Crew that perform a dual role as required.
Paramedics provide specialist first response trauma medical care and can be winched to patients. There are more than 25 specialist flight paramedics that work as part of the NSW Ambulance Service road based paramedics, specially trained in helicopter operations. They can be identified by their lighter blue flight suits.
And on the ground
Critical to the efficiency of the Rescue Helicopters and their crews is the team of engineers who provide ongoing and scheduled maintenance work on all helicopters. Aeromedical helicopters are required to undertake strict testing and maintenance procedures regularly.