Heliworks Helping To Rescue Oil-soaked Birds in Gulf
EMS Aviation’s Fleet aircraft tracking system is being used by Pensacola, Fla.-based Heliworks to help rescue birds endangered by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Heliworks, which flies a fleet of seven Bell 206s equipped with the EMS tracking system, has been contracted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to search for affected birds and lead rescuers to their locations. The company’s helicopters fly biologists low and close to the coastline to locate oil-covered birds, while the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service monitors their geographical location–as well as speed, heading, altitude and flight history–via an Internet-based automated flight following map. “When a biologist spots a bird, Fleet ensures that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service knows our exact location,” said Heliworks vice president Richard Simpson. “This helps operations determine where to send ground crews. And that means they can locate and rescue the oiled birds more quickly.” The EMS Fleet tracking system includes an Iridium antenna and transceiver with integrated GPS for flight following and a mission management unit for two-way text messaging and voice satcom services.