In December 2013 the Prime Minister John Key launched the new Waikato Westpac Air Ambulance (BK117 B-2) at Hamilton International Airport. Flight Structures played an important role in getting this aircraft in the air.
The Westpac Air Ambulance is used for both medical transfer and search and rescue operations and quick change of role equipment is vital when responding to various emergency scenarios.
Philips Search and Rescue Trust, (the operator) approached Flight Structures to develop a restraint system to accommodate both the Stryker and Ferno Stretchers. The design is unique because it allows a quick (less than one minute) changeover between systems.
Flight Structures was successful in gaining approval of the stretcher restraint design by issue of a CAA STC which may be incorporated on any BK117 helicopter operating in New Zealand or Australia.
Several other modifications were involved in the refit of the aircraft including:
Stretcher interface for carriage of Neo-Natal Incubators;
Skid mounted “Snow Shoes” to allow landing on soft terrain;
Weather Radar installation;
A/C electrical power supply;
LED spotlight for night time stretcher loading.
Flight Structures partnered with TechAir (avionics suite) and Hamilton Aero Maintenance (embodiment) to ensure that the BK117 met the operational requirements of the PSRT.
This project took approximately six months and has had positive feedback from both the Trust and the medical crew.
For more information about the Philips Search and Rescue Trust please click here.