‘It’s a terrible feeling of frustration and helplessness when you could save a life but you just can’t go!’ Matt Boulcott - Rescue Pilot

A member of our Canterbury community, someone’s brother, father, daughter or wife may have a terrible accident or medical emergency, immediate help is needed and ‘111’ is called BUT due to low cloud cover the Rescue Helicopter cannot fly.


As Matt explains. “Can you imagine, there could be a seriously injured child, they desperately need our help BUT the cloud is too low at the base and we cannot take off. Can you imagine being the parent of that child? They are there waiting - and even more frustrating, the weather can be perfectly clear where they are BUT they are told the helicopter cannot come."


With the introduction of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) routes in Canterbury, we can take off when the clouds roll in, and save more lives.

IFR will be a significant development for the Rescue Helicopter Service in Canterbury and will essentially allow the Rescue Helicopter and crew to operate in more compromised weather conditions.


Currently, due to specific weather patterns around the Canterbury region, we are unable to respond to some emergency call outs, it is estimated this figure is approximately 5%. This is a particular problem on the Canterbury Plains when a blanket of cloud forms.


IFR is a procedure to bring the aircraft in to visual condition for landing. It is based on GPS and involves setting up procedures for instrument flying to different regional locations, Christchurch Public Hospital and the Rescue Base.


Close to $250,000 needs to be raised across the region. Funds are needed now so we can introduce IFR before next winter.

The regional cost breakdown includes fees for procedure development, procedure flight validation, and procedure maintenance and support, along with additional simulation and training costs.


Christchurch                           $67,280

Base & Hospital – arrivals, departures, en-route

Timaru                                       $28,890
Ashburton                                 $31,205
Kaikoura                                   $28,890
Twizel                                         $34,840
Training and Simulation    $50,000


IFR will be a significant development for the Rescue Helicopter Service in Canterbury. If you have any questions or would like to discuss making a gift to help introduce IFR in your region, please contact Christine Prince on 03 358 8244 or


With the introduction of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) routes we can fly to your region even when the cloud rolls in and save more lives.


Please donate today to so that when the Rescue Helicopter is activated during the winter months especially, Matt and the crew can say “YES – we will be there as soon as we can.”

We rescued 959 people

in 2018 alone


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