The Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter crew are on standby 24/7, 365 days of the year. They are trained in helicopter underwater escape, water rescue, boat winching, bush survival, snowline survival, avalanche survival, high altitude and nigh winching, flying the wire environment, CAA competency check, night vision goggles and winch competency. In order to keep our crew compliant with CAA and regulatory requirements to provide a world class service, the Trust requires ongoing funding to keep crew currency. This training keeps them highly trained in our rugged and isolated environment and saves vital lives in our community.
Each crew member is clothed in fire retardant clothing and flights suits and wear appropriate safety boots chosen for the changing terrain. All crew have their own helmets, personal locator beacons, life vests, noise cancelling helmets and raincoats. Pilots and crew are required to wear night vision goggle to aid them to fly at night without relying on moonlight increasing helicopter safety and callouts. The cost of this equipment per pilot and crew person is approximately $30,000.
Medical equipment used by our Critical Care Paramedics include a defibrillator, ventilator, suction unit, video laryngoscope and while winching utilise stretchers, winch nappy and a cinch collar.
We are privileged to have had GCH Aviation as the operator of the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter service since 1996.
GCH Aviation is an umbrella brand representing their parent company Garden City Helicopters, based in Christchurch, New Zealand and a large number of associated aviation operations extending throughout New Zealand and into the South Pacific.
These operations include Garden City Helicopters Christchurch, Garden City Helicopters Nelson and Garden City Helicopters Greymouth, Wellington Helicopters, Pacific Island Air Fiji and Vanuatu Helicopters. The Group also represents emergency air rescue and air ambulance operations: Westpac Rescue Helicopter, NZCC Rescue Helicopter, Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter and the New Zealand Flying Doctor Service plus GCH Aviation Jet Centre and GCH UAV drone division.
Together, GCH Aviation represents over three decades of exceptional aviation experience in helicopter and fixed-wing tourism, certified flight training, commercial, air rescue and ambulance operations.
Safety is the paramount consideration for all their operations. Since their establishment as commercial, EMS and tourist operators, GCH Aviation has had an enviable safety record. GCH Aviation is an approved CAA check and training organisation. It is approved to carry out CAA 135.607 checks for many of the helicopter operators in the South Island.
The vast experience of the pilots, regular training, familiarity of equipment and extensive and continual exposure to the extreme terrain covered by their network, ensure that their safety record is maintained. This is complemented with in-house aircraft maintenance and quality assurance programmes.