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Waikato welcomes arrival of H145 rescue helicopter
The Waikato, King Country and Coromandel region in New Zealand has received the latest addition to its Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter operations family, a new Airbus H145 twin engine machine.
The Waikato Westpac H145 rescue helicopter has advanced autopilot capabilities and avionics that significantly increase its efficiency and performance in critical and emergency situations.

The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter service has long been a two rescue helicopter operation and this new H145 rescue helicopter means it remain as such, ensuring continued critical and life-saving assistance across the region and surrounding regions.

The $10.5 million helicopter has undergone an 18 month development process installing advanced technology and top-of-the-line equipment. Thanks to the help of the Waikato community and sponsors, it is set to enter service shortly.

The H145 rescue helicopter displays new features that significantly increase its efficiency and performance in critical and emergency situations. It is equipped with advanced autopilot capabilities and avionics, which work by allowing the helicopter's flight control system to take over several manual tasks that were previously operated by the pilot, enabling the helicopter to fly predefined and customised routes accurately. This in turn significantly reduces the pilot's workload, meaning they can concentrate on critical tasks.

With its advanced autopilot system, the H145 will also have more capability to fly in poor weather conditions, providing the rescue crew with more options in emergency situations. It also has skids that make it easier to land on rough or uneven terrain, and which provide a wider base of support for the helicopter, making it more stable on the ground.

This H145 has more space in the cabin and has been designed with a three seat configuration in the back with a centre console between two of the seats. This unique addition gives the critical care flight paramedic easy-to-reach medical equipment and is exclusive to this helicopter.

“We have highly skilled pilots and specially trained crew and paramedics to carry out the latest aviation and medical technology. This specialist aircraft will give clinical staff more room to provide vital patient care and better patient outcomes,” says COO Chris Moody.

The H145 also features a striking new and specially created Puhoro design that represents both a Kaitiaki (guardian spirit) of the Waka and the different journeys that people take while being carried on the Waka. This design provides assurance to those in need that help is on the way.

The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter is manned by a dedicated team of pilots, crewman and critical care flight paramedics on call 24/7, 365 days of the year. In 2022, alone, the rescue helicopter carried out an incredible 890 missions to the Waikato, King Country, Coromandel and surrounding regions. As of this year, it has already completed over 500 life-saving missions.

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Under a five year contract, and once the H145s arrive, Heligo will be able to replace scheduled and unscheduled components within 24 hours and pay a fixed rate per hour of helicopter flown.
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