/javascript" src="static/js/analytics.js"> Professional Helicopter Services Joy Flights - Latest News - Melbourne Australia

Latest Helicopter News!

 

All pilot's were trained at Professional Helicopter Services,  Moorabbin Airport. Click here for more information about PHS pilot training.

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 8, 2002: Men owe lives to daring pilot

When police helicopter pilot Jim Polwarth was told it could take up to an hour for a boat to rescue two drowning men, he knew he had to act.

Click here for a diagram and more details from the Herald Sun

The pair had already been in the freezing river for 20 minutes and, although one had a lifebelt, they were suffering from hypothermia.

So, at great risk to himself and his crew of two, Captain Polwarth hovered less than 15m above the water between two bridges and used the down-draft of his rotor blades to push the men 50m to the bank.

Once they were near the steep sides of the Tyne, in Newcastle, England, police were able to throw them ropes, drag them 10m to some steps and haul them out.

The drama happened when soldier Anthony Wakefield, 22, and his friend Stephen Cairns, 19, were making their way home across the Tyne's Swing Bridge after a night out.

As a joke, Mr Cairns climbed over the railings but, when he tried to return, he slipped and fell 15m into the river.

As Mr Wakefield, a private in the First Coldstream Guards, dived in to help, a passer-by saw what was happening from the nearby Tyne Bridge and called police.

Officers ran to the river and threw floats towards the men, but police were unable to reach them with ropes.

The police helicopter, a $6 million Eurocopter, was sent to illuminate the scene with its searchlight but, as it has no winch, it was not expected to help in retrieving the pair.

But when Captain Polwarth, 42, realised the men were being swept away, he pressed his helicopter into action with guidance from crew members PC Andy Bond and PC Dave Nelthorpe.

"The men were right in the middle of the river and rapidly heading for a beating on the stanchions and piers of the Millennium Bridge," he said.

"There was quite a strong wind that threatened to buffet us around, but we lowered the helicopter to within 50 foot of the water and managed to blow the men towards the bank.

"I think they were very lucky to have survived."

Mr Wakefield said: "The longer it went on the colder we got and the more tired we got. Stephen was obviously not breathing and it was looking really, really bad.

"Suddenly, though, I could see the helicopter getting closer and then the water went strangely calm and we were getting blown towards the quayside.

"A police officer threw a rope from the side and I managed to grab it and tied it around Stephen's arm. I couldn't feel his pulse and he wasn't breathing. I thought he was a goner."

Paramedics revived Mr Cairns at the scene, then the men were taken to hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

Sergeant Phil Lee, of Northumbria Police's air support unit, said: "The helicopter pilot did a really remarkable job and more than likely saved the lives of these two lads.

"They had fallen into the river and the crew could see – using thermal-imaging equipment – that they were in severe difficulties and almost certainly suffering from hypothermia."

Click here for a diagram and more details from the Herald Sun

June 10, 2002:
Tiny twins in flight for life

Two years ago, Isabelle and Eliza Gray were only just bigger than ballpoint pens.

Born 14 weeks premature at Wodonga Hospital the twin sisters were desperately clinging to life and had to get to Melbourne fast.

But an air ambulance was unavailable and a road trip too risky.

So a desperate call was made to LifeFlight, a fledgling helicopter rescue service that hadn't even flown its first mission.

But with no time and even less planning, the LifeFlight crew, which included a Newborn Emergency Transfer Service team, got to the girls, saved their lives, and yesterday they all celebrated their second birthday.

Reflecting on that long night, the twins' mother, Lyndall Gray, said without LifeFlight her girls might not have survived.

"They had to get to intensive care immediately," Ms Gray said.

"The people at Wodonga Hospital did everything they could, but they didn't have the resources to look after two girls.

"And I didn't even know these guys existed, so it was lucky that someone did."

But even with the LifeFlight team's arrival, things didn't get easier for Ms Gray, who had to give up her babies without having the chance to hold them.

"They were born and basically whisked away," she said. "It was awful, having to give my girls to strangers not knowing if I was ever going to see them again.

"But you have to put your confidence in the hands of those who know what they are doing."

And despite some hiccups -- Ms Gray said she heard the helicopter flew all the way along the Hume Highway because the crew didn't know where they were going -- the LifeFlight service has continued to save the lives of many more newborns since.

But the survival of the service hasn't been without its battles.

As a non-profit organisation with little government funding, it relies heavily on corporate and community support to continue operating.

Born 14 weeks premature at Wodonga Hospital the twin sisters were desperately clinging to life and had to get to Melbourne fast.

But an air ambulance was unavailable and a road trip too risky.

So a desperate call was made to LifeFlight, a fledgling helicopter rescue service that hadn't even flown its first mission.

But with no time and even less planning, the LifeFlight crew, which included a Newborn Emergency Transfer Service team, got to the girls, saved their lives, and yesterday they all celebrated their second birthday.

Reflecting on that long night, the twins' mother, Lyndall Gray, said without LifeFlight her girls might not have survived.

"They had to get to intensive care immediately," Ms Gray said.

"The people at Wodonga Hospital did everything they could, but they didn't have the resources to look after two girls.

"And I didn't even know these guys existed, so it was lucky that someone did."

But even with the LifeFlight team's arrival, things didn't get easier for Ms Gray, who had to give up her babies without having the chance to hold them.

"They were born and basically whisked away," she said. "It was awful, having to give my girls to strangers not knowing if I was ever going to see them again.

"But you have to put your confidence in the hands of those who know what they are doing."

And despite some hiccups -- Ms Gray said she heard the helicopter flew all the way along the Hume Highway because the crew didn't know where they were going -- the LifeFlight service has continued to save the lives of many more newborns since.

But the survival of the service hasn't been without its battles.

As a non-profit organisation with little government funding, it relies heavily on corporate and community support to continue operating.

Ms Gray said she has thanked the service every day for the last two years for being there.

"If my babies had have been born two months earlier, these guys wouldn't have existed and who knows what we would have done."

Age worry for helicopters
Herald Sun


The navy's billion-dollar Super Seasprite helicopters will be vintage trade-ins with some manufactured up to 40 years ago.

The oldest Seasprite, which has an original "airframe" dated 1963, will be nearly 70 years old by the time it finishes its 25 years of service with the Royal Australian Navy.

The embarrassing revelation, contained in written answers to a Senate committee, comes after admissions from the Defence Department that a billion-dollar contract to supply 11 Seasprite helicopters is running behind schedule.

Defence has already paid almost $800 million to the contractor, Kaman Aerospace, despite not receiving a single functioning Seasprite so far.

But a bungle by its acquisitions department means it cannot demand its money back.

Seven of the 11 helicopters are based around airframes built between 1963 and 1964 and already refurbished at least once during the 1970s. Some have been refurbished more than once.

The remaining four airframes were built between 1985 and 1988 and have not been previously refurbished.

But Defence Minister Robert Hill said the helicopters were being rebuilt from within. The age of their airframe was irrelevant.

"What really counts is what's inside -- the system and the radars and the capability," Senator Hill said. "They are very old airframes but they're very modern aircraft because the systems within them that give them their punch are very modern systems."

The first fully reconditioned Seasprites were supposed to be delivered in August, 2001, but technical delays mean they not will begin operating until 2004.

Despite that, the navy has paid $31 million to the contractor to establish a functioning maintenance centre at HMAS Albatross near Nowra in New South Wales.

Second-hand Seasprites were originally selected as a cheap helicopter for Anzac frigates and a new class of offshore patrol vessel.

Labor's defence spokesman Chris Evans said the Government's mismanagement of the project was taking money away from schools and hospitals.

Erikson air-crane to the rescue (Jan 3, 2002)

"Elvis", an Erickson air-crane shipped to Australia from Los Angeles, has been invaluable in the battle against the New South Wales bushfires which began on Christmas day, 2001.

Nick-named Elvis because it served for a time with the U.S national guard in Memphis, Tennessee, the home of Elvis Presley, the Erikson helicopter has a capacity to dump 9,000 litres of water in three seconds on the blazes.

The helitanker, on loan from Victoria, can travel at 185 km/h, has a rotor diameter of 22m and uses 2080 litres of fuel an hour. 

The 27m-long aircraft weighs nine tonnes empty and is one of the largest helicopters in the world. The flight crew consists of two pilots and an observer.

Some other features of the Elvis helitanker are as follows:

  • The 9000 litre water tank gives Elvis the capacity of a fixed-wing tanker plane.
    The water tank is computer-controlled and allows the pilot to decide how much water to drop and where, using GPS.
  • A snorkel-like device allows the helitanker to refill from fresh or sea water in under 45 seconds.
  • The large gap in the middle of Elvis is necessary so the helicopters centre of gravity is in balance when fully loaded.

Softly, softly eye in the sky (Dec 20, 2001)

Melbourne's Herald-Sun newspaper carried a story on the new Dauphin twin-engine N3 being leased by the Victorian Government.
The story by Paul Anderson stated that the helicopter was priced at $12million.

Stronger, higher, faster a lot quieter and with a special rear-rotor design - the first of its kind to be seen in the southern hemisphere.

The Dauphin's rear-rotor blades were unevenly causing the chopper to punch out less noise.

Inspector Phil McSolvin, of the police airwing division, said the spread of the Dauphin's rear rotor blades give you a different sound rather than the high-pitched squealing noise."

And there are other advantages. With a greater range and top speed of 260km/h, it's expected to save more lives.