Australian Aeromedical Service Providers

Operators Overview

History

Narrative Summary

In land area, Australia is comparable to the United States, but has a population of only 23 million. This low population density, and the large distances between hospitals, means Air Ambulance and helicopter rescue services have become a vital amenity.

From the late 1950s fixed-wing aircraft were being used to transport critically ill patients in remote aereas to larger hospitals. In 1962 a formal Victoria Air Ambulance service was created, chartering aircraft as required to transport patients to hospitals in Melbourne.

In 1971 the first rescue helicopter service was launched in Victoria. This pioneering programme was soon imitated in other parts of the country. The high profile Westpac Life Saver helicopter service started in NSW in 1973. By the late 1970s there were several rescue helicopter services operating and the State Governments started to regulate the service and establish their own units.

One of the largest aeromedical operators in Australia, the Royal Flying Doctor Service is described on another page.

Key Dates

1962 First fixed-wing ambulance service.
1971 First rescue helicopter service launched, in Victoria.
1980 First State-funded service, in South Australia.

Current Status

There are today numerous rescue helicopters located around Australia, providing public aeromedical services. They are funded by state governments, charities or corporate sponsorship.

Future Plans

No plans known.


Markings

Special Markings

Australian Air Ambulances and rescue aircraft and helicopters operate in a wide variety of markings. The helicopters normally display coporate logos from their commercial sponosrs. There are no standard service titles.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Aircraft and helicopters carry standard Australian civil registrations.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.


Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

See individual operators.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

See individual operators.

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

To be added.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

There is no central headquarters. The service is provided by individual operators tasked through the 000 emergency phone number system.

Organisational Structure

To be added.

Current Unit Assignments

Table of Current Unit Assignments

Historical Unit Assignments

To be added.

All-Time Flying Units List

Units Listing

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

See unit assignments.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

To be added.


More Information

Books

None known

Magazines

To be added

Websites

Emergency Medical Services in Australia
Helis.com: Australia Air Ambulances

Any photographs illustrating this operator would be welcome.

 

Australian Police Aviation Units

Operators Overview

History

Narrative Summary

The huge size of Australia and the low population density mean that travel between major towns can be very time consuming. The use of aircraft can vastly reduce the time required to reach a given destination. Shortly after World War II, the New South Police obtained an Avro Anson from the RAAF and set up an Aviation Branch. At this time the cost-effectiveness benefits of Police aircraft were inconclusive and the unit was closed down in 1950.

In 1974 the Western Australia Police established the first modern Police Air Wing in Australia, initially using leased fixed-wing aircraft and later buying its own aircraft. Several other Australian states followed suit in the 1970s, and by 1979 all the states had established a Police Air Wing. All of these units operated fixed-wing aircraft, normally based close to the state capital. In 1979, Victoria replaced its fixed-wing aircraft with a helicopter, becoming the first Police helicopter operator in Australia. It remains the only all-helicopter Police Air Wing in the country.

Key Dates

1946 New South Wales Police begins operation of the first police aircraft in Australia.
1974 Western Australia Police establish the first modern Police Air Wing in Australia.
1979 First police helicopter introduced – by Victoria Police.

Current Status

There is currently a Police Air Wing in each state, plus the capital territory.

Future Plans

See individual operators.

Markings

Special Markings

Australian Police aircraft operate in a wide variety of markings – usually some variety of blue and white overall. Most carry POLICE service titles – except for Queensland, which does not.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Australian Police aircraft and helicopters carry standard Australian civil aircraft registrations.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

See individual operators.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

See individual operators.

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

To be added.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Each of the five Australian states has its own Police Air Wing, administered and funded by the state government. The Tasmania Police share use of Tasmanian EMS helicopters and don’t have a separate police air wing. In addition, the Federal Government in Canberra has the Australian Federal Police, which operates in the Australian Capital Territory, nationwide and internationally.

Organisational Structure

Each Air Wing has its own organisational structure.

Current Unit Assignments

Table of Current Unit Assignments

Historical Unit Assignments

To be added.

All-Time Flying Units List

Units Listing

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

See unit assignments.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

To be added.

More Information

Books

None known

Magazines

To be added

Websites

Helis.com: Australia

Any photographs illustrating these operators would be welcome.

 

New Zealand Aeromedical Service Providers

Operators Overview

History

Narrative Summary

Given the low population density of New Zealand and the large distances between hospitals, Air Ambulance and helicopter rescue services have become a vital amenity.

From the 1950s fixed-wing aircraft were being used to transport critically ill patients in remote aereas ot larger hospitals. The Kaitāia Aero Club operated an air ambulance from 1952 – first using a Fox Moth aeroplane and then a twin-engined Dominie.

In late 1970 the first rescue helicopter service was launched in Auckland. This pioneering programme was soon imitated in other parts of the country. By the 1980s there were several rescue helicopter services operating. These high profile services soon attracted commercial sponsors. From about 1990 the creation of Charitable Trusts to administer the services was widely adopted.

Once source says that aeromedical services are currently provided by 18 rescue helicopter trusts, and 12 companies and clubs operating fixed-wing aircraft – although only 13 trusts and 2 companies have been traced. These organisations are contracted by the government to ensure all regions have an ambulance service. Rescue helicopters also assist with police and search and rescue operations.

Public aeromedical services receive less than half of their funding from government, the rest comes from public donations and commercial sponsorship.

Key Dates

late 1970 First rescue helicopter service launched in Auckland.
1986 Commercial sponsors start providing funding.
1990 Charitable Trusts become the preferred administration model.

Current Status

There are reportedly 18 rescue helicopter trusts and 12 companies and clubs providing public aeromedical services, altough only 13 trusts and 2 companies have been traced.

Future Plans

No plans known.


Markings

Special Markings

New Zealand Air Ambulances and rescue helicopters operate in a wide variety of markings. The helicopters normally display several coporate logos from their commercial sponosrs. There are no standard service titles.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Aircraft and helicopters carry standard New Zealand civil registrations.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.


Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

See individual operators.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

See individual operators.

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

To be added.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

There is no central headquarters. The service is provided by individual operators tasked through the 111 emergency phone number system.

Organisational Structure

To be added.

Current Unit Assignments

Table of Current Unit Assignments

Historical Unit Assignments

To be added.

All-Time Flying Units List

Units Listing

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

See unit assignments.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

To be added.


More Information

Books

None known

Magazines

To be added

Websites

Wikipedia: Emergency Medical Services in New Zealand
The Air Rescue Group
Helis.com: New Zealand
New Zealand Rescue Helicopters
New Zealand Air Ambulances
Ambulance Services
NZ SAR

Any photographs illustrating this operator would be welcome.