Every hour of every day - WA’s only 24/7 emergency rescue helicopter service

Managed by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) and sponsored by RAC, the two RAC Rescue helicopters provide vital search and rescue and critical care medical services to the WA community.

RAC Rescue Missions

The RAC Rescue helicopters undertake three types of missions:

  1. Flying critical care specialists direct to the scene of an incident, including car and motorcycle crashes, and then transporting the injured directly to hospital;

  2. Providing essential hospital transfers; and

  3. Search and rescue including searching for missing people, maritime operations in support of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and attending cliff or sea rescues




Did you know?

  • 65% of missions are to attend motor vehicle and motorcycle crashes
  • Crew members can be winched down to rescue injured patients in hard to reach places
  • The RAC Rescue helicopters can be airborne within 15 minutes of receiving a call

Service Areas

The first RAC Rescue helicopter, launched in 2003, is based in Perth with the second helicopter, launched in 2016, based in Bunbury. Check out the map below to see where the helicopters can provide assistance.

Did you know?

  • Together the two RAC Rescue helicopters can reach around 90% of the WA population
  • 75% of missions are to regional WA
  • More than 5,000 missions have been flown since 2003

The Crew 

On each mission, the RAC Rescue helicopters fly with a crew that includes a pilot, an air crewman and a critical care paramedic.

  1. The pilot is responsible for flying the RAC Rescue helicopter safely and efficiently into often challenging environments and giving the crew and paramedic the best chance of reaching and aiding those in distress.

  2. The air crewman manages confined area landings, winching operations and assists the paramedic and pilot when needed.  The air crewman also works with the Rescue helicopter’s state-of-the-art forward looking infrared or ‘FLIR’ camera that can help locate people in distress at sea or in remote areas.

  3. The critical care paramedic provides emergency critical care in a pre-hospital environment. The paramedic must often work with patients in some of the most logistically challenging emergency situations. Their key duty is to stabilise the patient while they are transported to a medical facility.

Did you know?

  • The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) manage the RAC Rescue helicopters
  • The critical care paramedics are seconded from St John Ambulance
  • The flight crews are contracted by CHC Helicopters


Would you like to experience a mission, as a crew member, on board one of the RAC Rescue helicopters without leaving the ground?

The RAC Rescue Experience uses 360 degree virtual reality to give Western Australians an insight into the incredible work of the RAC Rescue helicopters.

Find out more

RAC Rescue stories

Many people's lives have been touched by the RAC Rescue helicopters. Check out some of their stories.

Find out more