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Endorsement for big new rescue helicopter

31 August, 2005

Heavyweight endorsement for big new rescue helicopter

New Zealand’s largest helicopter company and a major Australian rescue helicopter operator have endorsed the Bell 412 EP as the ideal replacement aircraft for the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust (ARHT).

The Trust, which operates Auckland’s Westpac Rescue Helicopter, has selected the Bell 412 EP as its preferred option to replace the familiar red and yellow BK-117, which has reached the limit of its capabilities.

Nelson based Helicopters New Zealand, including its subsidiary companies, operates nearly forty helicopters between Antarctica, New Zealand, Australia and South East Asia. This includes six Bell-412s

New Zealand Manager, Dennis Laird, says HNZ considers the 412 to be a capable, reliable, rugged aircraft that is well proven and relatively straight forward to maintain.

“In an EMS (air rescue and aero-medical) role it has a suitable range and payload for New Zealand conditions.

“It is well proven in the rescue role, particularly in Europe,” he said.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service based in Newcastle, New South Wales, says the Bell 412 is a good choice for the Auckland region.

The service operates a Bell 412 and two smaller Bell 407 helicopters out of Newcastle and Tamworth.

General Manager, Richard Jones, said the Bell 412 has proven to be outstanding in terms of capability and cost-effectiveness.

“It was a quantum leap for us to make to have a machine as big as the 412, but it has proven to be a masterstroke.

“The service wondered at times if it could justify making the step up to the Bell 412, but now we sometimes wonder if should have two of them,” he said.

Richard Jones said like ARHT his service does a lot of rescue winching in difficult terrain: “The 412 is the ideal winch helicopter because of its power and stability.”


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