Daily Archives: December 27, 2011

Rescue and Choppers go together, like…

Dec 28th, 2011

UPDATED 29th December 2011 ( see end of article )

….well….they really just go together. Flying 300 missions annually is testament to that.

Nelson’s proximity to multiple National Parks is more than likely unmatched in the whole of New Zealand.

Goodness knows how all those injured trampers, lost individuals and other unfortunate casualties would have fared 40 years ago, but as luck would have it, technology comes to the rescue in modern times. Its obvious that we have a need for a locally based rescue helicopter service.

Its brought home every year, especially around the holiday break.

The major foundation for a successful outcome is………The Golden Hour…..and for the topography of our region, helicopters are probably the best type of machine to deliver that capability.

PHOTO - Lowes Corporation Hawkes Bay Helicopter Rescue Trust

As I have mentioned plenty here before, one of Nelsons major attractions is its lifestyle, and our surroundings certainly reinforce that. One of Nelsons geographical features is that it is encompassed by National Parks. Now in National Parks people go out wandering, but it turns out that not everyone is totally prepared for what can be dished up to them…..

Take this little suburbia based example from last week as a sample, …..and these visitors haven’t even ventured more than 5 ~ 10km from the centre of Nelson yet?

At this time of year in the Nelson / Tasman region thoughts wander to rest & relaxation, and that’s not just the locals!

Just in case you aren’t aware, recently a very important decision was made by New Zealands civil aviation authorities that mandated changes, as the NZ Herald reported …;

The regulations require rescue helicopters to have twin engines if they are to fly over hospitals. This affects six rescue helicopters based in Tauranga, Hamilton, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Nelson.

Just as interesting, this ruling was to apply to the whole country, as the “Stuff.co.nz” website reported;

In Wellington, operators from Palmerston North, Hastings, New Plymouth and Nelson would be unable to land on the hospital’s rooftop pad, with Wellington-based Westpac rescue helicopter the only service that flies a twin-engine craft in the area. Wellington Hospital gets between 50 and 80 flights a week.

That meant that even if the Nelson based Summit Rescue chopper had to make a dash to Wellington, it now had “time constraints” regarding landing zones, that could impact on that “Golden Hour.”


Christchurchs Rescue chopper

Looks like the situation is now fixed.

This is how Christchurch based Garden City Helicopters hints at it ;

Also recently added is a twin engine BK117 – B2 rescue helicopter which has also gone to Nelson for EMS work.

After hearing the different sounding engines for the last week (I’m guessing where I live must be in some sort of flight path) it was quite obviously different, and the Kawasaki/Eurocopter chopper certainly looks nothing like the Squirrel. The specs on the new chopper are impressive indeed.

I haven’t seen it yet, but I’d expect an official type of Press Release from the Rescue Chopper base in Nelson soon.

Meanwhile all visitors to our region can be rest assured that should something untoward happen, they are in the best hands that technology can currently deliver.



I’d been wondering about this, but Garden City Air Centre have now explained the new aircraft parked up at Nelson Airport, also in a related role.

This is the third recent addition to the Garden City fleet, with a King Air C90 fixed-wing aircraft added earlier this year. This aircraft will mainly be used as an air ambulance based out of the company’s Nelson operation, but which is also available for private charter.

Also good news for local residents.

UPDATED 29th December 2011

Page 3 of todays Nelson Mail, our local paper carries the following story…

Looks like Nelson Airport now has 2 Rescue Choppers based there....

…head on over to the article here for the full read. The “even better” news is the Squirrel will also stay on, so the greater Nelson / Tasman region will have 2 rescue choppers now.

Also in the paper was mention of just how busy they can be at this time of year, 3 rescues yesterday.

Chief Pilot Tim Douglas-Clifford told the paper;

..the day’s work…..was a good example of how important the newly operational BK117 helicopter was, in being able to carry two patients and save valuable time and resources.

Nice to hear some good news. Heres the news from the Summit Rescue Choppers Facebook page.