High Altitude Performance And Rescue On Mt. McKinley
By Bill Goldston
May 30, 2011 - The AStar family of helicopters has
become the platform of choice for a variety of missions
throughout the world. From law enforcement to utility
and from tour to air medical and Search and Rescue,
customers across the globe depend on the performance and
reliability of their AStars to complete their vital
May 12, 2011, an AS350 B3 helicopter from the Denali
National Park & Preserve was performed a high-altitude
rescue on Mt. McKinley of an injured climber, who had
broken his leg in a fall near the summit. It was one of
the highest rescues recorded on Mt. McKinley.
?We would like to commend the pilot and everyone involved in this extraordinary rescue,? stated Marc Paganini, President and CEO of American Eurocopter.
?Eurocopter helicopters are designed and built to meet and exceed the demanding missions of our customers. Rescues like this show the commitment of our customers to doing what it takes to complete the mission and their confidence in our aircraft.?
B3 helicopter is provided and operated by TEMSCO on an
exclusive-use contract to the National Park Service (NPS) in the
Denali National Park & Preserve and is primarily used for
mountain rescues. This rescue occurred at 19,833 ft. The summit
of Mt. McKinley is at 20,320 ft., and it is known for inclement
weather conditions. The pilot of the AS350 B3 was Andreas
Hermansky, a TEMSCO employee, and he knew that this was not
going to be a routine rescue.
rescue of this magnitude at this altitude, the mission is so
complex,? he said. With wind gusts to 70 mph and the temperature
well below zero, confidence in the aircraft and the pilot?s
abilities is a must. Hermansky explained that to be ready for a
rescue at this altitude, he had to know the area, the aircraft
and its performance at altitude with flights to summit. ?Rescues
up here are so much more than just flying an AStar. I have
landed on the summit a couple of times in various conditions, so
I was comfortable with the aircraft and knew it could handle
Mt. McKinley is a popular mountain for climbers from around the globe, and more than 1000 have registered to climb it this year alone. Joe Reichert, Denali National Park Ranger and South District Helicopter Manager, explained that each year they conduct evacuations from several locations and altitudes on the mountain.
?We have on
average about 20 to 25 evacuations and SAR missions each year. The AS350
B3 provides us with the high-altitude performance we need to cover Mt.
McKinley and the extreme conditions we encounter. The most recent
high-altitude rescue is a perfect example of that.?
The AS350 B3 from
TEMSCO also provides a variety of mission support for the Denali
National Park & Preserve, in addition to search and rescue. ?This
helicopter gives us the power and flexibility we need to perform many
functions throughout the preserve including resource management, hauling
equipment, ferrying researchers to remote locations and repeater work,?
appeal is also why TEMSCO has three AS350 B3s in its fleet. ?The AS350
B3 is a true multi-role helicopter,? said Joe Hicks, Senior Vice
President of TEMSCO Helicopters. ?It has outstanding external load
capabilities, and its hot & high performance allows us to haul drills
for geological surveys, assist the U.S. Forest Service with field work,
conduct firefighting missions, assist with construction, and perform SAR
missions, like the one on Mt. McKinley.?
|?AvStop Online Magazine Contact Us Return To News|