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.

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.

Surf Life Saving South Australia

of Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service

History

The Wales Surf Rescue Helicopter service started in 1979, sponsored by the Wales Bank. It is not clear if the establishment of the South Australia State Rescue Helicopter Service (SRHS) in 1980 affected this service. Referring to an event in 2005, the official SLS SA website says “… since 1979, Surf Life Saving South Australia has operated within the aerial services domain, with various changes and a two year absence in this time. However with the support of Westpac, a Helicopter Rescue Service in South Australian coastal areas is again up and running.” This implies that the service continued, but had a pause circa 2003-2005. The helicopters operated during this period are not known.

Aircraft

Type Qty Service Example Serials
Bell 206 1 1979 – 1980+  
?? 1 ? – ?  
AS350 1 Sep 2005 – current  

Unit Markings

Figure 1
To be added

Main Bases

Base Duration
?? 1979 – 2003
West Beach, Adelaide Sep 2005 – current

More Information

References

Other Sources

To be added.