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Aerial Firefighting Operations


GCH Aviation is very experienced in providing helicopter support services to fire fighting operations all across our region including remote locations and mountainous terrain.



is an inherent part of our culture and has come from years of operating the Air Rescue Service and other commercial operations. GCH Aviation has one of the most enviable safety records in helicopter aviation in New Zealand. The vast international experience of our pilots, regular training, familiarity with equipment and extensive and continual exposure to the extreme terrain covered by our operation, ensures our safety record is maintained.



is conducted by our in house engineers, ensuring preventative and on-going maintenance programmes are scheduled, monitored and carried out so that they have the least possible effect on the provision of our services. Our engineers are also available for any in-the-field maintenance required.



of billing is maintained by auditable reference to hour meters in each helicopter.


Aircraft Availability

Depending on requirements, GCH Aviation have a variety of aircraft available. Due to EMS Air Ambulance commitments, our rescue helicopters may be unavailable at times. Should any of our specialist rescue aircraft be first called to a fire, it is dedicated to that fire and is made unavailable for further EMS Air Ambulance work while that fire is active.


Fire Response Times

Call out to airbourne response times:
Work Hours: 10 minutes

After Hours: 20 - 30 minutes
Contact us 24 hours a day by phoning our base number: (03) 358 4360



GCH Aviation full time and part time pilots as required. All fire fighting pilots have high levels of experience at fire fighting both in New Zealand and overseas with a combined flying experience of tens of thousands of flying hours. All pilots hold night ratings and are instructor rated.

Ground Support

 - Ground staff ensure all machines are supplied around the clock
 - Ground staff hold appropriate dangerous goods licenses and are highly trained
 - A four wheel drive vehicle carries all support equipment including fuel for all aircraft
 - Air to ground communications are maintained
 - A 1400lt fuel tanker is towed by the four wheel drive vehicle


Fire Equipment

We use collapsible Dew Drop buckets that fit into each helicopter for easy transport to the fire. Bucket skirts adjust the water flow to suit the fuel to be extinguished or for filling portable dams.

C-Dax units provide the correct foam concentration for each fuel type.

GCH Aviation also carries a full set of lifting gear and safety equipment (also an onboard winch with the BK117) to cover all contingencies at fires. A pod provides extra carrying capacity for the Squirrel.


GCH Aviation has a long and successful history of providing professional helicopter services to fire professionals. Our pilots are the most experienced aerial fire fighters in Canterbury and operate the most cost effective helicopters available using the most up to date equipment. We operate as an autonomous team but with the ability and genuine desire to work with other operators to achieve the best result, extinguishing the fire as quickly as possible.



 •  CAA Certified Part 119/135 Air Transport Air Operators

 •  CAA Part 141 Certified Training Organisation
 •  VNZ Quality Management Systems AS/NZS ISO 9001:2008
 •  VNZ Ambulance and Paramedical Services NZS 8156:2008
 •  VNZ Air Ambulance/Air Search and Rescue Service 2011

Members of:

 •  Ambulance New Zealand
 •  Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce
 •  Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism
 •  Aviation Industry Association
 •  Ambulance Communications Centre Comms User Group



While details shown here may relate specifically to Christchurch-based operations, equipment and protocols ALL of our regional operations in Nelson, Greymouth, Wellington, Fiji and Vanuatu are able to undertake firefighting operations when required. 


Each of these operations provide helicopter firefighting support services to the highest standards of response, expertise, safety and credibility.


Please contact your local operations base for full details. CLICK HERE





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