RAC Rescue Bell 412 helicopters to be replaced in 2018; Royal Perth Hospital helipad to be upgraded

VH-EPK Bell 412EP (cn 36100) of CHC Helicopters, on lease to the WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services as ‘RAC RESCUE’ at Royal Perth Hospital Helipad (YXRP) – Tue 22 October 2013
VH-EPK Bell 412EP (cn 36100) of CHC Helicopters, on lease to the WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services as ‘RAC RESCUE’ at Royal Perth Hospital Helipad (YXRP) – Tue 22 October 2013.
The helipad at Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) was opened on 27 July 1999. Located on the balcony of Level 5 in the North Block, the helipad is located close to the Intensive Care Unit and Operating Theatres, and is connected by a dedicated transport overpass to the Emergency Department. The helipad is used for helicopters transporting trauma and burns victims with life-threatening injuries from up to 200 kilometres away from Perth, saving critical time. Statistics show that in serious trauma cases, the time between injury and initial stabilisation (known as the ‘golden hour’) is the single most important factor in patient survival. In another link to aviation, the funding for the helipad came from the Sir Norman Brearley Trust, set up by the Rotary Club of Perth. Brearley was a famous, pioneering West Australian aviator who established the airline which operated the first scheduled air services in Australia. Brearley was also a charter member of the Perth Rotary Club and established the trust to fund worthwhile community projects.
Photo © David Eyre

17 June 2016 © David Eyre

The two Bell 412EP ‘RAC Rescue’ helicopters are to be replaced from mid-2018, with unconfirmed reports indicating that larger AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters will be used.

Royal Perth Hospital helipad will also require a $7 million upgrade to handle heavier helicopters.

The helipad is currently rated for helicopters up to 5400kg and is ageing, but it needs strengthening to handle 7000kg due to changes to CASA guidelines.

The Health Department considered this to be an urgent priority, but the State Treasury knocked back the funding request in the May 2016 Budget, until it receives a more developed business case by the end of 2016.

David Eyre

President, Aviation Association of WA Inc

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