TEMSCO AS350 B3 helicopter used in mountain rescue
Eurocopter AS350 B3 used in high altitude rescue of injured mountain climber
On 12 May 2011, an AS350 B3 helicopter from
the Denali National
Park and Preserve performed a high altitude rescue on Mount McKinley
of an injured climber, who had broken his leg in a fall near the summit. It was
one of the highest rescues recorded on the mountain.
“We would like to commend the pilot and everyone involved in this extraordinary
rescue,” stated Marc Paganini, president and chief executive officer of
American Eurocopter. “Eurocopter helicopters are designed and built to meet and
exceed the demanding missions of our customers. Rescues like this show the
commitment of our customers to doing what it takes to complete the mission and
their confidence in our aircraft.”
The AS350 B3 helicopter is provided and operated by TEMSCO on an exclusive-use
contract to the National Park Service (NPS) in the Denali National Park
and Preserve and is primarily used for mountain rescues. This rescue occurred
at 19,833 ft. The summit of Mount
McKinley is at 20,320 ft.
and it is known for inclement weather conditions.
The pilot of the AS350 B3 was Andreas Hermansky, a TEMSCO employee, and he knew
that this was not going to be a routine rescue.
“With a rescue of this magnitude at this altitude, the mission is so complex,”
he said. With wind gusts to 70 mph and the temperature well below zero,
confidence in the aircraft and the pilot’s abilities is a must. Hermansky
explained that to be ready for a rescue at this altitude, he had to know the
area, the aircraft and its performance at altitude with flights to summit.
“Rescues up here are so much more than just flying an AStar. I have landed on
the summit a couple of times in various conditions, so I was comfortable with
the aircraft and knew it could handle this mission.”
This multi-role appeal is also why TEMSCO
has three AS350 B3s in its fleet. “The AS350 B3 is a true multi-role
helicopter,” said Joe Hicks, senior vice president of TEMSCO Helicopters. “It
has outstanding external load capabilities, and its hot and high performance
allows us to haul drills for geological surveys, assist the US Forest Service
with field work, conduct firefighting missions, assist with construction, and
perform SAR missions, like the one on Mt. McKinley.”
TEMSCO (an acronym from the words: Timber,
Exploration, Mining, Survey, Cargo Operations) was founded in 1958 in Ketchikan, Alaska.
TEMSCO has operated AStars since 1983. It was one of the launch customers for
the AS350 B3 in the United
States and helped shape the development of
the aircraft due to the wide variety of missions the company performs. “We took
delivery of the second AS350 B3 in the US, and TEMSCO has really grown
with the B3,” added Hicks. Its helicopter fleet has grown, as it has expanded
its operations into tourism, hospital transport, firefighting, and other
TEMSCO will have a fourth AS350 B3 delivered at the end of May.