Our Rescue Helicopters

When disaster strikes, we need extraordinary resources to respond. Located in the Mackay-based CQ Rescue hangar are two American-built Bell 412 helicopters which are twin-engine aircraft with a single four-bladed main rotor system and a tail rotor to provide directional control.

As a totally dedicated rescue aircraft, the interior of the helicopter is designed for the provision of patient care, maximum efficiency and the capability to be prepared for the many and varied types of rescue missions the helicopter responds to. The standard onboard configuration for emergency medical services includes a pilot, aircrewmen, rescue crewmen, doctor, paramedic and necessary medical, rescue and aviation equipment.


Equipment and Training

Having the capability to save lives in a diversity of challenging situations whilst providing exceptional patient care, maximum efficiency and the capability means being prepared for the many and varied types of rescue missions the helicopter responds to.

The standard onboard configuration for emergency medical services includes the following necessary medical, rescue and aviation equipment:

  • Communications Helmet with night vision goggles mount
  • Rescue crew harness
  • Survival vest, personal locating beacon and personal flare
  • Flameproof flying suit
  • VHF rescue radio
  • Flame retardant gloves
  • Patient stretcher
  • Equipment tray & legs
  • Propac MD monitor
  • Ferno scoop stretcher
  • Winch stretcher
  • Winch release
  • Soft leather, all-weather boots
  • Tagline
  • Rescue strop
  • Gath helmet
  • Patient harness
  • Float Rope
  • Oxygen ventilator



Aviation Call Signs: CQJ is RSCU 412 and LSY is RSCU 422

Aircraft Registration: VH-CQJ & VH-LSY

Single Pilot IFR (certified minimum) Certified by the manufacturer and the regulator (CASA) as a single pilot helicopter as a minimum. Fitted with dual controls our aircraft can be flown from either side. Certified for IFR (instrument flying rules) means our aircraft is instrumented with the appropriate equipment to be safe to fly in a cloud, however, there are limitations to the weather conditions it is certified to fly in.

600lb Goodrich Rescue Hoist Winch (right-hand side fixed mount)

Night Vision Imaging System (NVIS) includes night vision goggles (NVG), aircraft lighting, training and NVG-aircrew interface.

Night Sun Operations: Nightsun is a 30 million candlepower search light for illumination of specific areas

Radar for avoiding bad weather when flying IFR

Helicopter terrain avoidance warning system (H-TAWS)

Traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS)

Emergency beacon tracking direction finder A state of the art direction finding device that allows homing to any emergency beacon; including marine, air band, military or the latest satellite beacons

Satellite phone allows communication by phone in those areas where cell phone coverage is lost which is a common occurrence in the areas our crew service.


Maximum speed: 130 knots approximately (flying straight and level)

Cruise Speed: 120 knots

Maximum Gross Take Off Weight: 5,398kg

Helicopter Weight: 3,580kg

Total Fuel Capacity: 1,277 litres

Fuel Usage: 750 lbs per flying hour on average

Normal Cruising Altitude: 5,000 to 7,000 feet above sea level, however, our aircraft will fly anywhere between the ground and 10,000 feet above sea level depending on the terrain, task and conditions. Higher altitude is better for reducing fuel flow but on search and rescue (SAR) mission our aircraft travel close to the ground.

Maximum Continuous Power: 1,600hp

One Engine Inoperative (OEI) Maximum Continuous Power: 1,079hp

Engine Type: Pratt & Whitney PT6T-3D

Compression Ratio of Engine: 7:1

Engine Spin: Clockwise

Rotor Speed: 327 RPM

Rotor Diameter: 14.0m

Travel Times

Mackay – Nebo (30 minutes)

Mackay – Moranbah (50 minutes)

Mackay – Clermont (75 minutes)

Mackay – Proserpine (40 minutes)

Mackay – Townsville (90 to 100 minutes) however wind has a significant effect on this long flight time, therefore, the wind has a long time to influence the speed over the ground. It usually takes 20 minutes longer to return from Townsville than to get there due to the southeasterly wind direction. Importantly we have the benefit of a nice tailwind on the way to Townsville when time really matters.