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Our Helicopters

The BK117 (Bolkov Kawasaki 117) Helicopter is one of the most commonly used aircraft in the world for rescue work, as it's combination of reliability, speed and short rotor blades which allows it to fly close to cliff faces makes it unquestionably one of the best aircrafts for the job.

For those interested in the details, here are the helicopter specs:

  • Aviation Call signs - "Westpac Rescue 1" & "Westpac Rescue 2"

  • Aircraft Registration - ZK-HLN & ZK-HKZ,  BK117-850 D2 Helicopter's

  • Single Pilot & Dual Pilot IFR

  • 600lb Breeze Eastern Winch (right hand side fixed mount)

 

Radar (including storm scope) - The Radar enables the pilot to avoid really bad weather which reduces the danger of icing, severe turbulence or lightning strikes.  This is particularly important when flying on instruments (IFR) in cloud.  The Radar is also a very useful tool in detecting survivors/boats at sea, and when trying to detect or follow coastlines or high ground.

Terrain Avoidance Warning System (TAWS) - This gives the pilot a map of the height of the terrain in front of the helicopter.  If the aircraft descends below a predetermined safe height an alarm sounds in the cockpit.

Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS).

A certified NVIS (Night Vision Instrument System) in the cockpit for when using Night Vision Goggles. 

Nightsun Electronic Flight Indication System (EFIS).

Moving Map - An electronic map which shows all geographic features, airspace boundaries and aircraft tracks.

Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI) - Although not a full “Glass” Cockpit EFIS, one of the central instruments, the compass, and all associated pointers and bearing and distance indicators are on an electronic ‘glass’ screen.  All critical information for the pilot is on one panel right in front of him/her.

Flight following - This is an electronic device mounted in the aircraft that uses Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) and satellite or cell phone to transmit the helicopters exact location every few seconds to a tracking website.  A moving map in can be logged onto which shows the aircraft’s position at any time. This means not only ARHT staff can monitor our aircrafts position, but also the Ambulance Control Centre, the Police or the National Rescue Coordination Centre (NRCC) if we are carrying out a Search and Rescue mission.

Emergency beacon tracking Direction Finder - A state of the art Direction finding device, that allows homing to any emergency beacon; including Marine, air band, military or the latest ‘satellite triggering’ 406 MHz beacons.

406 MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) - If we are ever in trouble, our own emergency beacon will be up to the latest standard.  Instead of waiting up to 6 hours for a satellite to pick up the exact position of our aircraft, in an emergency the 406 beacons can be tracked in just a few minutes to within a few metres, rather than a few kilometers, as with the old VHF beacons.

Satellite Phone - Allows communication by phone in those areas where cell phone coverage is lost.  This is quite common, in the areas we go to.

Additional Information:

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter is a totally dedicated rescue aircraft. The interior of the Helicopter is designed for the provision of exceptionally high standards of patient care, maximum efficiency, and the capability to be multi role. The types of rescue missions the Helicopter responds to are many and varied and can be as diverse as sea rescues and car accidents.


The Rescue Helicopters standard configuration includes medical, rescue and aviation equipment onboard to ensure that missions are carried out safely to ensure the best patient outcome. The Trust also has further specialised equipment on standby at its Helipad in Mechanics Bay, Auckland.

It is also fitted with multiple stretcher systems, medical oxygen, suction, medical quality lighting, backup power, as well as specialist coronary and neonatal medical equipment, rescue stretchers and rescue diver immersion equipment inside the Helicopter.

Travel Times:
Auckland - Waiheke Island (9 min)
Auckland - Piha (15 min)
Auckland - Great Barrier Island (25 min)
Auckland - Waiuku (16 min)
Auckland - Coromandel (35 min)

 

Other interesting Facts
Maximum Speed - 277 kn/h (150 knots)
Cruise Speed - 222 km/h (120 knots)
Maximum Weight - 3,350 kgs
Fuel Useage - 150 litres/hr (per engine)
Normal Fuel Capacity - 720 litres
Normal Cruising Altitude - 1500 ft