n 2015, the Government Flying Service (GFS) of Hong Kong decided to migrate to a fleet of seven H175 helicopters to service a range of public service demands. With a tally of 5,300 flight hours in nearly two years, the H175 fleet has proven to be the multi-mission answer for GFS.
Equipped with a team of 41 helicopter pilots and 46 aircrewman officers, having a fleet of seven H175 helicopters has enabled GFS to provide multiple services on a 24-hour basis.
“As a helicopter operator, we are quite unique,” says Captain Graham Dann, who has been with GFS for nearly 10 years. “We cover the full spectrum, can be challenging, but keeps everything fresh. We have a variety of teams available on standby for anything and everything, with search and rescue missions being our bread and butter, whether it’s day or night, in a range of conditions, including typhoon season, maritime environments, mountainous terrain, and hot and humid weather.”
While search and rescue is GFS’s primary focus, routine business also involves aerial surveys, firefighting, maritime tasks, law enforcement support, and offshore medical evacuations. As the first operator of the public services variant of the H175, the team also maintains a comprehensive training programme as it transitions to the new fleet. Despite the challenges of integrating the new fleet while maintaining their usual scope of commitments, GFS was able to implement a training programme with the services provided by Airbus Helicopters Training Services (AHTS) on site. “We are very grateful to AHTS’ pilot and crewman instructors for delivering extensive training in Hong Kong. We were not familiar with the H175 at the time, so it was really helpful to have the AHTS team here to answer questions,” says GFS Air Crewman Officer, Benny Chan, who alongside Captain Dann is currently involved with the H175 training programme.