Westpac Rescue 3

Our third helicopter, 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.

BK117 helicopter specs:

  • Aviation Call sign - "Westpac Rescue 3"
  • Aircraft Registration - ZK-HKZ,  BK117-850 D2 Helicopter
  • Single Pilot & Dual Pilot IFR
  • 600lb Breeze Eastern Winch (right hand side fixed mount)

Flight hours:

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

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

Other safety features:

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 Night Vision Instrument System(NVIS) 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.