Teton County Search and Rescue (TCSAR) in Jackson, Wyoming has received its latest rescue helicopter, a single-engine Airbus H125 built in France and then customised as a rescue ship by Kansas-based EuroTec Vertical Flight Solutions. The helicopter officially arrived on 14 October and TCSAR volunteers are already training in and around it in preparation for the winter rescue season.
After raising $7.25 million in private donations from the community in a nine month campaign known as Mission Critical, TCSAR Foundation, the nonprofit organisation that supports TCSAR volunteers, handed over the title and deed of the H125 helicopter to Teton County. Moving forward, the County owns the aircraft and employs the chief pilot through the Teton County Sheriff's Office, which oversees SAR operations as stipulated by Wyoming state statute. The process has been a prime example of the community benefits resulting from the public/private partnership between the TCSAR Foundation, Sheriff's Office and County.
At the end of the day, the campaign and partnership has always been about saving lives with the most effective tool for mountain rescue. Having a year-round helicopter eliminates the uncertainty with lease contracts of the past and allows TCSAR to conduct complex training missions, not to mention rescue, no matter the season.
“The new H125 helicopter comes at a time when Teton County Search and Rescue continues to see a high volume of rescue calls, within and outside our county,” says TCSAR chief advisor Cody Lockhart. “Having a rescue-ready helicopter year-round can be the difference between life or death for locals and visitors alike. We are incredibly grateful to our entire community and partners for helping to make this vital rescue tool a reality for Teton County.”
The helicopter completion process showcased EuroTec's unique expertise in helicopter modifications and its close relationships with original equipment manufacturers, enabling it to offer a comprehensive list of options to enhance the H125's capabilities. From its original factory green colour to a custom-designed red exterior with a mountainscape paint scheme pulled from TCSAR's new logo, the end result is an aircraft equipped for the challenging search and rescue missions required in Wyoming's rugged terrain.
“Delivering this custom-completed H125 helicopter represents a significant milestone for Teton County Search and Rescue. We're honoured to have played a crucial role in supporting its mission. We are thrilled to witness the positive impact this aircraft will have on its life-saving efforts,” says EuroTec president Chad Decker.
Key features and enhancements of the customised H125 include:
- Swiss Rotor Services door/maximum pilot view kit
- Astronics Max-Viz 2300 Enhanced Vision System
- BLR FastFin kit
- Dart basket
- Boost cargo hook
- Onboard cargo hook
- Bear paws
- Avionics panel reconfiguration with Garmin avionics suite, dual TDFM, US Forestry kit, Flex digital battery ACU, SpiderTracks, additional antennas and more.
- Custom designed paint scheme with ceramic coating
- Vertical Flight Solutions True Blue Power TB20 battery kit
TCSAR consists of 39 volunteers who are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year. The rescue services they provide to backcountry users are free of charge. This does not change with the new helicopter.