Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter engineers Craig Hamilton and Heath McDonald start work on reassembling the second aircraft.
Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter engineers Craig Hamilton and Heath McDonald start work on reassembling the second aircraft. Graham Orams

Rescue helicopter back in Lismore

THE NORTHERN Rivers’ second Westpac rescue helicopter is back in its Lismore hangar, albeit in a few hundred pieces.

The aircraft was damaged last year after it tipped over following a landing gear malfunction during servicing.

In a reversal of fortunes, the chopper became the patient requiring transportation and specialist care for a change.

Resident engineers Craig Hamilton and Heath McDonald will now spend the next few months putting it back together.

A consultant from Eurocopter which supplied the French-built Dauphin helicopters, travelled to Australia to access the damage at the time and recommended it be sent to an approved repairer, the closest being in Singapore.

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter general manager Kris Beavis said the elimination of ‘downtime’ would be the biggest benefit of having the second machine back in service.

“The aircraft had to be stripped bare before being shipped to Singapore for repairs. Now that it’s back it’s likely to take some months to refit and return to service,” he said.

“The reason for this is that these helicopters are finely engineered machines with many intricate parts.

“Our engineers work to the highest standards to ensure that safety is not compromised.”

Mr Beavis commended the engineers, staff and crews for maintaining services effectively with only one helicopter during the past months but said it was a relief to have their other baby back home.

“Having the second aircraft means that when one is being serviced, the second is there ready to go should an emergency arise,” he said.

“This is great news for the region, particularly for anyone who is unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident or other mishap.”



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