It was a proud day for everyone at Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter on Friday when LRH – the service’s second helicopter – was back in the air after undergoing extensive repairs following a landing-gear malfunction 18 months ago.
The aircraft’s body was repaired in Singapore, and then rebuilt at the Lismore Helibase. It was then flown to a specialist paint shop in Queensland to have a new coat of paint.
The French-built Dauphin N2 helicopter has since undergone extensive testing by the rescue helicopter’s engineering team and was certified fit-for-duty on Friday.
Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter chief pilot Lynton Beggs described the N2 helicopters as ‘well-built and reliable machines’.
He said the service’s engineers worked to the highest standards to ensure that LRH was rebuilt properly and safety wasn’t compromised.
“Having a second aircraft again means that when one aircraft is being serviced, the second is there ready to go when we get called out to a rescue mission,” Mr Beggs said.
“We’ve managed pretty well with just one aircraft, but having the second aircraft back on line will virtually eliminate all down-time.”
Mr Beggs paid tribute to the tireless efforts of the service’s engineering department, who worked meticulously to get LRH back into action as quickly as possible.
He said LRH was like a new aircraft and had been fitted with many extras including a satellite navigation system, night-vision capabilities and four ‘lipstick’ video cameras which could record video footage onto hard-drive.
PICTURE: Crewman Jimmy Keough (left) and chief pilot Lynton Beggs in front of LRH.