BY ZARA HANDSCOMB
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter service reached a 10,000 hour flying milestone in the AugustaWestland (AW139) aeromedical aircraft on Saturday.
The AW139 was introduced in 2017 and covers a range of different emergencies every day across the entirety of Northern NSW and across the NSW QLD border.
The Westpac Rescue service provides aeromedical search, rescue and, inter-hospital transfers to care for communities from the North of the Hawkesbury River up to the Queensland border.
The day the service hit 10,000 flying hours, all three bases were called to support people from various locations ranging from Tenterfield, down to Howes Valley.
The achievement highlights the hard efforts of the staff across the four bases, engineers, pilots, air crew officers, NSW Ambulance Critical Care Paramedics and NSW Health Doctors.
One overlooked, essential service to the operation of Westpac Rescue aircraft is the maintenance team, a critical aspect keeping the aircraft safe. CEO Richard Jones says, “Each time an aircraft is needed, there is an expert team of ground personnel who have ensured the aircraft can safely perform to the highest standard.”
Thirty-Four heavy maintenance events have taken place since the introduction of the AW139 in 2017. With a total of 120 weeks of heavy maintenance at the Deep Level Maintenance Facility in Broadmeadow.
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter service was established in 1975 and continues to be crucial service supported by the community and fundraising. The service runs four different helicopters over three bases in Belmont, Lismore and Tamworth.
CEO Richard Jones says he would like to thank all those who made it possible.
“Our incredible supporters across Northern NSW who have helped us reach this milestone, keeping our service in the air is a team effort which is only made possible thanks to the generosity of our community,” Mr Jones said.