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

Southern Peninsula Rescue Squad

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

Southern Peninsula Rescue Squad is a not-for-profit independent marine search and rescue service. It’s main area of operation is the southern end of Port Phillip Bay and the surf coasts of Bass Strait, south of Melbourne. During the early 1970s the SPRS had an agreement with Jayrow helicopters to utilise a Bell 47 helicopter contracted to fly newspapers to the peninsula for searches when not otherwise being used. This proved very successful and following a fundraising campaign the SPRS purchased its own Bell 47J model helicopter for search and rescue purposes. This helicopter was later replaced by a Bell 206B JetRanger which was unfortunately lost in an accident in 1994. The state government donated a new Bell 206L LongRanger later that year to replace it. By 2010 the helicopter was only receiving a few call-outs each year, and so the SPRS decided to cease helicopter operations. The helicopter was sold in 2010.

Key Dates

1967 Mornington Peninsula Emergency Group.
1970 Southern Peninsula Rescue Squad formally established.
1976 Start of helicopter operations.
1994 Helicopter lost in an accident.
1994 Replacement helicopter donated.
July 2010 End of helicopter operations.

Current Status

The SPRS helicopter ceased operations in July 2010.

Future Plans

No plans known.

Markings

Special Markings

The SPRS Helicopter flew in a white and blue colour scheme. RESCUE titles were shown on the forward fuselage and a large SPRS logo displayed on the rear fuselage.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

The SPRS helicopter carried an Australian civil aircraft registration, i.e. Bell 206 VH-BLV.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Bell 47J 1 1976 ? USA
Bell 206B JetRanger 1 ? 1994 USA
Bell 206L LongRanger 1 1994 2010 USA

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

The first Bell 206B crashed into Port Philip Bay in 1994.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

SOUTHERN PENINSULA RESCUE SQUAD INC, P.O. Box 221, Blairgowrie 3942.

Organisational Structure

No subordinate units.

Current Unit Assignments

No subordinate units.

Historical Unit Assignments

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

The SPRS helicopter was based at Sorrento.

More Information

Books

None known.

Magazines

None known.

Websites

Southern Peninsula Rescue Squad
Facebook: Southern Peninsula Rescue Squad
Youtube: Southern Peninsula Rescue Squad helicopter
Southern Peninsula Rescue Squad to cease helicopter operations
gift rescue chopper up for sale
Flickr: Southern Peninsula Rescue Squad

Any photographs illustrating this operator would be welcome.

 

Peninsula Ambulance Service

History

Narrative Summary

The Peninsula Ambulance Service established the first full-time dedicated helicopter air ambulance service in Australia. The Bell 206A JetRanger was brought to Australia in December 1970 by Bill Vowell, the owner of a Tyabb-based helicopter company, and fitted out as an air ambulance, but wasn’t assigned its first medical emergency until March 1971. Manned by local paramedics it operated out of Tyabb Airfield on the Mornington Peninsula, just south of Melbourne. Initial operations were successful and in March 1972 a formal contract for continued operation was agreed. The helicopter soon became known as the Angel of Mercy.

In late 1985 a State Government-commissioned review of Ambulance services recommended that the PAS helicopter service be closed down and that combined Police and Ambulance use of the existing Police helicopter would be more effective. Accordingly, the PAS helicopter was withdrawn in March 1986 and the service closed.

Key Dates

December 1970 Helicopter delivered.
March 1971 First medical mission flown.
March 1972 Formal lease contract with PAS agreed.
late 1985 State Government committee recommends closure of PAS helicopter operation.
March 1986 Operations cease.

Current Status

The PAS helicopter service ceased operation in March 1986.

Future Plans

Not applicable.


Markings

Special Markings

The PAS helicopter originally flew in a white and blue colour scheme, with a red Maltese Cross on the rotor fairing. PENINSULA AMBULANCE SERVICE titles were displayed on the lower fuselage and a Vowell Air Services logo on the rear fuselage. A new mainly white colour scheme, with red ‘dashed’ cheatlines along the fuselage and tail boom was later introduced. The PENINSULA AMBULANCE SERVICE titles were moved to the rear fusealage. ‘Angel of Mercy’ titles and a red Maltese Cross appeared on the rotor fairing.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

The PAS helicopter carried an Australian civil aircraft registration, i.e. Bell 206A VH-AAL.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Retirement Origin
Bell 206A JetRanger 1 1971 1985 contractor
Bell 206L LongRanger 1 1985 1986 contractor

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

None known.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Peninsula Ambulance Service, Frankston, VIC.

Organisational Structure

No subordinate units.

Current Unit Assignments

No subordinate units.

Historical Unit Assignments

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

The PAS helicopter was based at Tyabb Airfield on the Mornington Peninsula, VIC.


More Information

Books

None known.

Magazines

None known.

Websites

Angel of Mercy

Any photographs illustrating this operator would be welcome.

 

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.

 

All-Time Aircraft Used List
Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Aerospatiale AS350 Squirrel 4 ? current contractor
Aerospatiale AS355 Squirrel 2 1 2000 current contractor
Aerospatiale AS365C Dauphin 4 1990 2007 contractor
Aerospatiale AS365N Dauphin 2 3 2005 current contractor
AgustaWestland AW119 1 2011 current contractor
Bell 47 3 1973 ? contractor
Bell 206B JetRanger 5 1976 1990 contractor
Bell 206L LongRanger 1 1990 1996 contractor
Bell 407 1 2000 2007 contractor
Bell 412 2 1993 current contractor
Eurocopter EC120 1 ? current contractor
Eurocopter EC135 1 2009 current contractor
Hiller UH-12E 1 1982 1983 contractor
MBB Bo 105 1 2012 current contractor
MBB BK117 5 2000 current contractor

 

Current Aircraft Inventory
Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service

Aircraft Type Total Del’d Total Active Still on Order Role
Aerospatiale AS350B Ecureuil 3 3 0 EMS/Search & Rescue
Aerospatiale AS355 Ecureuil 2 1 1 0 EMS/Search & Rescue
Aerospatiale AS365 Dauphin 2 2 0 EMS/Search & Rescue
AgustaWestland AW119 1 1 0 EMS/Search & Rescue
Bell 412 2 2 0 EMS/Search & Rescue
Eurocopter EC120 1 1 0 EMS/Search & Rescue
Eurocopter EC135 1 1 0 EMS/Search & Rescue
MBB Bo105 1 1 0 EMS/Search & Rescue
MBB BK117 5 5 0 EMS/Search & Rescue

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.