Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust
The Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter is a New Zealand accident and emergency rescue and transport service operated by the Auckland Regional Rescue Helicopter Trust. The Trust operates two BK117-850 D2 helicopters on behalf of the helicopter owners - the greater Auckland community. Note that there are four 'Westpac Rescue Helicopter' services in New Zealand, but they are all separate entities and only linked by the same major sponsor.
The aircraft and crew are trained and equipped to operate day and night, their missions range from emergency/accident casualty transport, to medical transfers / medevacs to rescue searches and airlifts. The service performs around 800 missions annually (as at mid-2013). The Trust added specialist emergency medicine critical-care doctors to the crew line-up in September 2011 when it commenced a two year HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) pilot study in partnership with Auckland District Health Board (ADHB). The project received additional funding to continue for a further three years in mid 2013.
The Trust has ordered a new AgustaWestland AW-169 for delivery in 2015
The helicopters can attain cruising (long-distance) speeds of around 200 km/h (120 mph), and have a range of about 500 km (300 nautical miles), carrying 605 litres internally and a further 300 litres with auxiliary fuel tanks. Helicopters currently operated are:
- Auckland: ZK-HLN & ZK-HKZ - BK117-850 D2's MBB-Kawasaki operated by Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust (*)
(*) The leased Auckland service model was replaced in 2007 by a second-hand model of the same make (with a low number of flight hours and was fully rebuilt from the ground up), and equipped with extended night-flying gear, weather radar and better internal configuration. The new helicopter has cost NZ$3.3 million, compared with a yearly lease of NZ$1 million for the previous model. A second machine was purchased in 2010, providing better coverage to the more than 1.5 million population of the serviced region.
The helicopters have numerous financial supporters in the community and corporate sectors as they are only partially Government funded. The main naming rights sponsor is the Australasian bank Westpac. The sponsorship began in 1981 when Westpac sponsored the Wellington helicopter service.
- Helicopter Rescue - 30 Years of Commuinty Service, Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, 30 November 2000, ISBN 0-473-07320-X
- Missions (from the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust website. Retrieved 2008-01-10.)
- Westpac Rescue Helicopters (from the Westpac New Zealand website)
- Cleave, Louisa (20 January 2007). "New rescue chopper big leap in safety". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2009-03-31.