With just three-quarters of the year gone the Trust Tairāwhiti Eastland Rescue Helicopter had already completed more missions than for the whole of last year.
During 2022 the team flew 248 completed missions from their Gisborne hangar, as well as 101 flights for training, ferrying, maintenance and “other” purposes . . . a total of 349 reported flights.
By the end of September 2023, however, they had already flown a total of 348 reported flights – 269 completed missions, along with 79 flights for training, ferrying, maintenance and “other” purposes.
“While the data set does not report missions that are abandoned or stood down, or are declined for weather or other reasons, those figures are recorded and that’s really important,” says Eastland Helicopter Rescue Trust chair Patrick Willock.
“Those figures are used for analysing not just the actions of the Trust Tairāwhiti Eastland Rescue Helicopter, but also the demand for the service, and that is critical to future planning.”
The number of completed missions reported for the January-September 2023 period was impressive but Mr Willock believes there will be even more activity in the last three months of the year.
“Our team was certainly impacted by the terrible weather seen through much of the first half of the year,” he says.
“But as the weather eased, the team’s ability to meet the demand for their services increased.
“The resulting figures represent a huge effort from our pilots, crewmen and critical care flight paramedics who offer this vital service in our region 24/7, 365 days a year.”