Helicopter Rescue Test Run to Royal

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter will simulate aeromedical retrievals to the Royal Hobart Hospital this morning between 11 am and 12 noon.

Project Director, Ben Moloney said preparation for the construction of K-Block next year had commenced including operational testing for the helipad. Hobart's typical wind conditions meant that two flight paths needed to be tested.

"For the initial approach, the helicopter will enter the city from the Derwent River and fly up Liverpool Street, into Campbell Street and hover briefly near the hospital's nine-storey,

A-Block at the approximate height of the new helipad. It will then leave along Campbell Street and Constitution Dock.

"On its second approach, the helicopter will enter the city from Constitution Dock, fly along Campbell Street, leaving over Liverpool Street," Mr Moloney said.

"Helicopter flight paths have more flexibility than fixed wing aircraft. Today we are confirming the most efficient helicopter flight path to the Royal – one that delivers critically ill patients to the hospital fastest and minimises the impact on the city.

Mr Moloney said that the helipad was a key feature in the rescued Redevelopment project.

"Building a helipad on K-block means many patients who have suffered serious health events can get to the emergency department or theatres within a few minutes of landing at the hospital,'
Mr Moloney said.

"The helipad will be a major health asset for Tasmanians.

"As well as confirming flight paths, we will be able to run through a close approximation of an aeromedical retrieval – something new for the people of Hobart.

Mr Moloney said that operational testing would include verification of the acoustic impacts requested when the helipad received planning approval.

"We are also working with the Theatre Royal to provide them with data they have requested for their own purposes,' Mr Moloney said.

Mr Moloney advised that aeronautical engineering advice commissioned last year by the Rescue Taskforce confirmed that occupants of nearby buildings would hear the helicopter when the helipad was used.

"Our advice is that the noise of an incoming helicopter will be similar in volume to the siren of a passing emergency vehicle, but it will have a lower frequency and last around two minutes each time it arrives and leaves."

Mr Moloney noted that whilst the simulation would be similar to the real experience, it was likely that the new building structure would shield some of the noise during landing and take-off, reducing the impact.

Mr Moloney said that the construction of the ten-storey K-Block would commence next year.

The $657 million RHH Redevelopment is a joint funding initiative of the Australian and Tasmanian Governments. This includes an allocation of $10.5 million for the installation of the helipad.

08 Dec 2015