ABC calls for helicopter pilots

By Paul Hemsley

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has gone to market to hire pilots and maintenance services for its helicopters in Sydney and Melbourne.

The national broadcaster has called for rotary wing pilots with media experience to be responsible for the full delivery of helicopter services by flying them and maintaining them at the ABC facilities at Gore Hill Sydney and Essendon Airport Melbourne.

Bidders are required to provide back-up helicopters when ABC’s own helicopters are not available. ABC also wants to know what models these back-up helicopters are and have them ready for emergency operations.

ABC presently operates its own single-engine Squirrel AS350BA (Registration VH-HVT) in Victoria and a hired helicopter of identical type in New South Wales.

However ABC anticipates that it will own a helicopter for its Sydney service in the future and the contractors from today’s bid will be expected to help choose a suitable replacement for the hired helicopter.

The tender documents say that ABC funds separate maintenance service providers at present but the winning contractor will manage both piloting and maintenance.

According to the tender documents, the contract service will span for three years but the contractor will be offered an extension of two years renewed annually at the ABC’s sole discretion.

The Broadcaster candidly acknowledged the tragic loss last of its previous aircraft in which three ABC crew lost their lives.

“Previously operations were conducted with an ABC-owned twin-engine Squirrel AS355-2 (Registration VH-NTV),” the tender documents said. “It is common industry knowledge that VH-NTV crashed in August, 2011 resulting in three fatalities.”

The closing date for bids is 13th February 2013.

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