The addition of a new Air Patrol aircraft to Coastguard Northern Region's rescue fleet will substantially increase the organization's search and rescue capabilities.
Coastguard Air Patrol, a Cessna C182T, will be the only aircraft in the Auckland region which is day-time search specific. With a targeted response time of less than 20 minutes from call out to take off, the aircraft will be a welcome sight for troubled boaties.
The aircraft boasts a six cylinder engine rated at 230HP and impressive, state of the art navigational software including a Garmin G1000 avionics suite with activated search planning functionality and a Becker Radio Direction Finder.
Coastguard Northern Region President Roly Linstrom, says the new aircraft features the same specifications as used by Civil Air Patrol in the United States which will be invaluable during search and rescue missions.
"Coastguard Air Patrol, with a cruise speed of 130 knots and a search speed of 80 knots, is able to sweep an area much faster than surface vessels meaning there is a higher probability for target detection. Specializing in visual search, the aircraft can also be more effective than a helicopter when tasked with a wide search area."
Mr Linstrom says that there has long been a need for a new Coastguard Air Patrol aircraft and now with the support of The Lion Foundation, they have finally been able to get the project off the ground.
"Coastguard Northern Region is extremely grateful to The Lion Foundation for their funding and support of this project . Their generosity will mean that many boaties will be safer at sea."
Phil Holden, CEO of The Lion Foundation, says "The Lion Foundation is pleased to be in a position to support Coastguard Air Patrol's procurement and is utterly delighted that the plane is now in service and will help to save the lives of several thousand Kiwis each year. It's just one example of how The Lion Foundation's approach to community gaming creates genuine community wide benefit."
"This aircraft represents a massive leap forward in capability for Coastguard and because of its ability to travel at up to 150 knots per hour, it is able to support the whole volunteer fleet of Coastguard vessels across the wider Auckland and North Island area."
With an endurance time of up to five hours and room for up to four crew including the pilot, in flight coordinator and two observers, Coastguard Air Patrol is the perfect search and rescue partner.
The aircraft is also capable of operating in search patterns including Parallel Track, Sector Search and Expanding Square.
The Coastguard Air Patrol will support search and rescue operations in popular boating areas including the Hauraki Gulf, Great Barrier Island, Coromandel, Kawau Island, Bream Head, Kaipara Harbour, Raglan and Kawhia.