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Northern NSW : Spring 2011
The addition of a fourth helicopter to the Service’s fleet marks the beginning of an exciting new phase for the provision of aeromedical services in the Hunter, Central Coast, Mid North Coast, New England and North West. General Manager Richard Jones answers questions about the acquisition of the new aircraft. Why did the Service need to purchase another helicopter? Firstly, we wanted to ensure close to 100% helicopter availability at both our Broadmeadow and Tamwor th Bases. We could not guarantee this with three machines. Secondly, a newer helicopter with increased capacity and capability is needed into the future. In addition it’s an investment to ensure that our equipment and assets are up to date and competitive with modern aeromedical retrieval practices and expectations. It positions the Service well for our future with the Ambulance Ser vice of NSW. This aircraft is as good as any in the world for this type of work. The EP model represents the best technology available. We are very fortunate to have been able to acquire the helicopter from Eagle Helicopters in Canada. It was previously used by the New York Police Department. How will the BELL 412EP be used? This machine will be based at Broadmeadow and work with our other BELL 412 SP. They will operate in a ‘1 up 1 down’ system. In other words, one will always be operational while the other is undergoing servicing or maintenance. The same system will apply in Tamwor th for the two BK 117’s for the New England North West Region. How much did it cost? The final amount is $9.6m with some training costs on top of that. It is being paid for over a number of years from a combination of community contributions and favourable commercial loan borrowings from Westpac. How many patients can it carry? It will take two stretcher patients in accordance with our contracted requirements from the Ambulance Service of NSW. Newly acquired BELL 412EP comes into service New helicopter now ‘on-line’ Page 10 Westpac Rescue Helicopter Ser vice - Rescue Spring 2011