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.

 

All-Time Units Listing

of Australian Aeromedical Service Providers

This page lists all the Australian Air Ambulance/Search & Recue Service Providers, since the service’s introduction.

Air Ambulance Victoria
Ambulance Service of New South Wales
Ambulance Tasmania
Capricorn Helicopter Rescue
CareFlight
Child Flight
CQ Rescue
Emergency Management Queensland
Energex Rescue Helicopter
National Safety Council of Australia
Northern Territory Aerial Medical Service
NQ Rescue
Peninsula Ambulance Service
RAC Rescue Helicopter
SnowyHydro Southcare
South Australia State Rescue Helicopter Service
Southern Peninsula Rescue Squad
Sunshine Coast Rescue Helicopter Service
Tasmanian Air Rescue Trust
Torres Strait Rescue
Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service

Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service was founded in 1973 by Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA), a not-for-profit organisation. The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service is the longest serving civil search and rescue helicopter service in the world. In 1973 the Bank of New South Wales, (popularly known as ‘the Wales’), became the corporate sponsor of the Rescue Helicopter service. The bank was renamed Westpac Banking Corporation in 1982 and this is reflected in the service now being known as the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service.

Key Dates

1973 Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service first established.

Current Status

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service is fully operational.

Future Plans

No plans known.

Markings

Special Markings

Westpac Life Saver Rescue helicopters operate in a standard yellow and red colour scheme with LIFESAVER RESCUE titles on the fuselage and the local Surf Life Saving Association logo on the fin.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

The helicopters carry Australian civil aircraft registrations, e.g. BK117 VH-NVG.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Table of Current Service Aircraft

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

To be added.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Westpac Life Saver Helicopter Service, Surf Life Saving Australia, Rosebery, Sydney, NSW.

Organisational Structure

Although operating under the general title ‘Westpac Life Saver Helicopter Service’, each service is actually delivered by an affiliated, non-profit organisation working to meet the specific needs of local communities. In most cases this organisation is the Surf Life Saving association for the relevant state.

Current Unit Assignments

Table of Current Unit Assignments

Historical Unit Assignments

To be added.

All-Time Flying Units List

Life Saving Victoria
NSW Greater Sydney
NSW Hunter & New England
NSW Northern Region
Surf Life Saving Queensland
Surf Life Saving South Australia
Surf Life Saving Western Australia
Tasmanian Air Rescue Trust

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: Westpac Life Saver Helicopter Service
Westpac Life Saver Helicopter NSW
Westpac Life Saver Helicopter Northern Region
Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopters
Facebook: Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopters – Official Site NSW
Facebook: Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter – Northern Region
Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service WA
Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter QLD
Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service VIC
Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Hunter Region

Any photographs illustrating this operator would be welcome.

 

Current Unit Assignments
Westpac Rescue Helicopters

Unit Type Base
New South Wales
Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter
Hunter Region Surf Life Saving 2 x Bell 412 Newcastle
Hunter Region Surf Life Saving 2 x BK117 Tamworth
Northern Region Surf Life Saving 2 x AS365 Lismore
Southern Region Surf Life Saving 1 x BK117 La Perouse, Sydney
Southern Region Surf Life Saving 1 x BK117 Moruya
Queensland
Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter (Surf Life Saving Queensland)
1 x EC145 Carrara
1 x Bo 105 Caloundra
South Australia
Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter (Surf Life Saving South Australia)
1 x AS 350 West Beach, Adelaide
Tasmania
Tasmanian Air Rescue Trust
1 x AS355, 1 x BK117 Hobart Airport
Victoria
Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter (Life Saving Victoria)
1 x AS350, 1 x EC120 Moorabbin, Melbourne
Western Australia
Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter (Surf Life Saving Western Australia)
1 x AW119Ke Freemantle
1 x AS350 Busselton

Surf Life Saving Queensland

of Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service

History

SLSQ’s Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service began in December 1976 and patrolled Gold Coast beaches from October to April each year. In those early years a Bell 206B Jet Ranger helicopter was used. There were four rescues carried out during 37 missions flown in that first season. The service has been sponsored by Westpac (formally the Bank of New South Wales) since 1978.

Aircraft

Type Qty Service Example Serials
Bell 206B 1 Dec 1976 – ?  
?? 1 ? – ?  
?? 1 ? – ?  
AS365N 1 ? – ?  
AS350 1 ? – ?  
EC135 1 2009 – current  
Bo 105 1 2012 – current  

Unit Markings

Figure 1
To be added

Main Bases

Base Duration
Kurrawa 1976 – ?
Carrara ? – current
Caloundra ? – current

More Information

References

Other Sources

To be added.

Southern Region Surf Life Saving Association

of Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service

History

The Southern Region Surf Life Saving Association helicopter rescue service began in Sydney in 1973 as a basic beach surveillance and rescue service.

Aircraft

Type Qty Service Example Serials
Bell 47 1 1973 – ?  
Bell 206 1 ? – ?  
AS350 1 ? – ?  
AS365C 1 ? – ?  
BK117 2 ? – current  

Unit Markings

Figure 1
To be added

Main Bases

Base Duration
La Perouse, Sydney 1973 – current
Moruya 2010 – current

More Information

References

Other Sources

To be added.

Hunter Region Surf Life Saving Association

of Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service

History

The original helicopter service was created by The Newcastle branch of Surf Life Saving Australia, as a surf rescue and coastal observation operation during the summer months using a Bell 47 helicopter. At this time Westpac, (then the Bank of NSW), became named sponsor and has remained so to the present day. The service expaned to two helicopters in 1993. A second base was opened at Tamworth in 2000.

Aircraft

Type Qty Service Example Serials
Bell 47 2 1975 – ?  
?? 1 ? – 1990  
AS365 1 1990 – ?  
Bell 412 2 1993 – current  
Bell 407 1 2000 – 2007  
BK117 2 2007 – current  

Unit Markings

Figure 1
To be added

Main Bases

Base Duration
Newcastle 1975 – current
Tamworth 2000 – current

More Information

References

Other Sources

To be added.

Surf Life Saving Western Australia

of Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service

History

The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter for the Perth area was launched in December 2008 and is a service provided by Surf Life Saving Western Australia (SLSWA). A new helicopter was obtained in late 2011, and this allowed the original helicopter to move south and start operations at from Busselton.

Aircraft

Type Qty Service Example Serials
AS350 1 2008 – current  
AW119Ke 1 2011 – current  

Unit Markings

Figure 1
To be added

Main Bases

Base Duration
Freemantle 2008 – current
Busselton 2011 – current

More Information

References

Other Sources

To be added.

Life Saving Victoria

of Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service

History

The official Life Saving Victoria website gives almost no information on the history of the helicopter service. LSV itself was formed in 2002 from a merger of two previous organisations.

Aircraft

Type Qty Service Example Serials
AS350 1 2010 – current  
EC120 1 ? – current VH-ECP
?? 1 ? – 2010  
?? 1 ? – ?  

Unit Markings

Figure 1
To be added

Main Bases

Base Duration
Moorabbin Airport, Melbourne ? – current

More Information

References

Other Sources

To be added.