Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has received the first of its four new helicopters this past week. The rest are scheduled to arrive over a two year period.
Ian Moore, the chief pilot of DNR’s Aviation Services, said in an email that the H125 helicopters are larger than any in the department’s current fleet and can carry more crew members and equipment.
The H125 helicopters, which will replace the aging fleet, cost between $3 million and $4 million per machine.
The replacement of the old fleet has been planned since last year, as the department looks to improve the capabilities of their machines while decreasing maintenance costs.
These helicopters will be used for, among other tasks, search and rescue, firefighting and surveying.
“Geologists, foresters, biologists, and surveyors are just some of the staff who use our fleet to track the health of our wildlife, forests and coastlines,” said Moore.
The H125 helicopters are capable of higher cruising altitudes, allowing the pilot to be on scene more quickly than previously possible. The machines include a new stretcher system for medical evacuations, plus they can carry three times more water, making them more effective against fires.
“As we saw last summer, when more than a dozen wildfires raged across our province, the helicopters’ fire detection and suppression services are critical to protecting residents and properties from disaster,” said Moore.
DNR currently has a fleet of five helicopters of varying make and age.
Bruce Nunn, a spokesman for DNR, said the old helicopters will be traded in for the new ones as each machine is delivered. The old helicopters are to be sold off.