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Waikato’s Bell 222 Rescue Helicopter takes final flight

Waikato’s Bell 222 Rescue Helicopter takes final flight 

After 30 years and nearly 10,000 hours of life-saving service to our region, Waikato's Bell 222 rescue helicopter will take its final flight, tomorrow, Friday November 29.    

Waikato Westpac Helicopter Crew with Bell 222 during a site Open Day 2019. Photo: Salina Galvan Photography

Proudly a pioneer in its field for single pilot IFR helicopter flying in New Zealand, the Bell 222 managed arguably one of the most complex and challenging forms of helicopter flying. The Bell’s first flight for the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter was January 15th 1995. Over that time, the Bell transported 8,000 patients during close to 10,000 hours of effective flying moving numerous critically ill patients from both the road and farm side and between District health boards supporting the Waikato Tertiary ICU and NBU.    

Following three decades of solid service as the region’s rescue helicopter, unfortunately, the technology and navigation demand of today’s rescue operations can no longer be fulfilled by the Bell 222. The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter base will welcome a second member of fleet, another BK117, increasing the busy Waikato site’s capability by becoming a twin helicopter base.   

Based at the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter Hangar at Waikato Hospital, the Bell will leave at 1pm tomorrow, circle Hamilton twice – fly down to circle Matamata, Putaruru, Tirau, Tokoroa before landing at Taupo Airport. 
The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter operates as a charity and relies on support from sponsors and community donations. The crucial financial support ensures our rescue helicopter can continue to bring life-saving equipment, rescue personnel and intensive care paramedics directly to the patient. For further information about the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter visit our website rescue.org.nz  

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