Senior base engineer, Heath McDonald.
Senior base engineer, Heath McDonald. Alina Rylko

PHOTO GALLERY: "The real heroes of our area"

FOLLOWING a grand ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter service opened its new helibase to the community on Saturday

Two of four helicopters in the new fleet were on exhibit, alongside police and fire trucks and personnel.

Five-year-old Abbey Fletcher was excited to see one of the familiar yellow and red choppers up close.

 

Abbey Fletcher, 5.
Abbey Fletcher, 5. Alina Rylko

"She usually points them out in the sky," her mum said.

Mick Oaten sais son Rafael, 2, was a massive Fireman Sam fan and enjoyed meeting "the real heroes of our area."

 

Mick and Rafael Oaten, 2.
Mick and Rafael Oaten, 2. Alina Rylko

Senior Base Engineer Heath McDonald was on hand to explain the mechanics of the custom built rescue helicopters.

He said they represented a significant upgrade from the two previous machines, used by the old operator of the service.

"The previous machines purchased from a sultan in Malaysia, had gold plated cabins and cup holders," Mr McDonald said.

 

Lismore Police Rescue Unit senior constables Phil Benfield and Brett Green showing youngsters the new Westpac Life Saver Rescue helicopter.
Lismore Police Rescue Unit senior constables Phil Benfield and Brett Green showing youngsters the new Westpac Life Saver Rescue helicopter. Alina Rylko

"These helicopters were developed through trial and error for rescues."

Inside the cabin, compartments for medical equipment can be accessible with a single hand.

"Maintenance of aircraft at this level is relatively complex," Mr McDonald said.

 

The cockpit.
The cockpit. Alina Rylko

"At the lowest level we have a daily inspection to release the flight and regular repairs at every (25 to 50) flight hours.

"These machines are a similar to utility use military aircraft."

 



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