Babcock Australasia has achieved a significant in-service milestone with Ambulance Victoria, with its AW139 helicopter fleet exceeding 20,000 flying hours at the five year anniversary of entering service.
Since January 2016, Babcock has supplied five AW139s, plus a service assurance aircraft, to support Ambulance Victoria’s Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) operations.
Babcock Australasia’s Chief Pilot and Head of Flying Operations (Onshore), Captain Tom House, said the achievement is testament to the strong collaboration with Ambulance Victoria.
“Working in partnership with the customer, Babcock’s Aviation & Critical services team has maintained operations since the start of the pandemic and remained committed to service delivery,” Captain House said.
“We also provide qualification training to pilots, aircrew and engineers as well as specialist aeromedical training to Ambulance Victoria’s Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) Flight Paramedics.
“Babcock pilots and aircrew officers work in a close-knit team with MICA paramedics, which is critical when conducting operations at short notice at all hours of the day and night, often in challenging weather conditions and involving traumatic circumstances.
“As a result, there is a high level of professional respect between the crew members and a close bond forged by shared experiences.”
Operating from bases in Essendon, La Trobe Valley, Bendigo and Warrnambool, Babcock’s AW139 crews fly more than 2,700 EMS and SAR missions each year across Victoria and Bass Strait.
Captain House said Babcock provides Ambulance Victoria with turnkey helicopter support services to maintain and fly the fleet of specialised medical emergency configured AW139 helicopters.
“This includes early adoption of new technologies, custom configuration of specialised on-board aeromedical equipment, as well as bespoke aircraft cabin designs and fitouts suitable for HEMS and SAR operations,” Captain House said.
“All AW139s are equipped with a rescue winch allowing MICA paramedics to be lowered into remote places to rescue patients, including bushland, boats and the ocean.
“Babcock’s expertise, commitment, and focus on safe practices in the most challenging of circumstances has helped saved many lives and 2020 saw almost 2,000 patients transported by HEMS.
“Our long-term partnership with Ambulance Victoria and experience with HEMS continues to deliver significant benefit to more than 5.8 million people living in rural, regional and metropolitan Victoria.”