Tuesday, July 1, 2014

CQ Plane Spotting Historic Spot - The Sunshine Coast Helicopter Rescue Service (SCHRS)

Early last month, Kawasaki BK117 B-2 helicopter VH-EHQ of the Sunshine Coast Helicopter Rescue Service (SCHRS) called into Biloela / Thangool Airport from its Bundaberg base.

Alan Macdonald / http://flightaware.com/

It turns out that the Sunshine Coast Helicopter Rescue Service is Australia's longest running community based not-for-profit helicopter service.  It was conceived in 1979 by community-minded businessmen and funded by them and the Queensland Government.  The SCHRS was incorporated and flying by December 1979.

The first helicopter - a Bell 206 JetRanger - operated from Yandina on the Sunshine Coast until 1983, when SCHRS moved to the Sunshine Coast Airport.  In 1985 the SCHRS doubled its fleet with the acquisition of a Bell 206 LongRanger.

The energy distribution corporation Energex, formally known as the South East Queensland Electricity Board (SEQEB), began sponsorship of the Rescue Service in 1994.  The Service was renamed Energex Community Rescue Helicopter in 1998 following SEQEB's name change.

Paul Sadler / http://www.saltmagazine.com.au/

The financial assistance from Energex and its customers - through donations from their quarterly electricity bill - allowed the Service to purchase a third helicopter in the form of the larger, twin-engined, BK-117 in 1997.  The delivery of the service's first BK-117 helicopter allowed the rescue crew to load a patient from the back of the aircraft.

Jodie van de Wetering / http://www.abc.net.au/

In 1998 SCHRS was to expand its operations north into Bundaberg on a three year trial basis using a Bell 206 JetRanger Helicopter. In 2001 the service would become a permanent fixture in Wide Bay and Bundaberg skies upgrading to the larger Bell 206 LongRanger helicopter.

A quarter of a century of saving lives and serving the community was celebrated in 2004, and in 2006 the service continued to expand with a larger hangar at the Sunshine Coast Airport.  It remains the community based chopper’s home to this day.

In 2009, Energex Community Rescue Helicopter became the AGL Action Rescue Helicopter.

Kawasaki BK117 B-2 VH-BKV at Bundaberg Airport (File photo taken by 'IAD' ©)

In July 2013, the Service merged with CareFlight Group Queensland.


SCHRS and the iconic RACQ CareFlight Rescue now come under the umbrella of CareFlight Group Queensland.

Bell 206L-1 VH-ZOW arrives at Gladstone Airport (File photo taken by Jamie C  ©)

This vital community service is always looking for donations to keep their helicopter flying.  Details on doantions, and the Service itself can be found on the CareFlight Group website at:  http://www.careflightgroup.com/

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