Helicopter appeal took flight

Grant Ebelthite, a contractor from Oceania, inspecting the assembly of the two new helicopters

The 2018 Northland Rescue Helicopter Appeal has been a phenomenal success with a record $385,000 raised from October 1, compared to the 2017 total of $307,000.

Northland Emergency Services Trust chair, Paul Ahlers, said the continued generosity of the Northland public helps to keep its choppers in the air and this year’s appeal will also support the purchase of two new aircraft.

“We rely so much on our community and the funds raised this year means Northlanders will have helped us to update the aircraft and provide the best possible service we can.

“The result of the appeal is a testament to how much Northlanders value the service, and all the people involved who play a vital role in ensuring we have a world-class air ambulance service.”

The launch of the two new choppers in March comes at a time when the service is in higher demand than ever before, completing up to eight flights a day in 2018.

Flight hours increased from 1,198 in 2017 to 1,407 in 2018, and 901 missions in 2017 increased to 984 in 2018.

Chief pilot, Peter Turnbull, said the dedication and expertise of the Northland rescue chopper team is the reason it can respond to the increasing number of missions.

“The team needs to be ready to go at all times of the day and night, so it is challenging and often very emotional work, but being able to do something we love while also saving lives is a very rewarding thing.”


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