Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Open day brings rescue crew and public together

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Todd Dunham has the best view of the world from his office - the cockpit of the Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter.

Yesterday, hundreds of Tauranga residents got to have a look inside the flying machine, which saves hundreds of people a year across the Bay of Plenty region.

The open day at the Ian Pain Memorial Hangar at Tauranga Hospital gave people the chance to get up close and personal with the helicopter and crew.

Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter pilot Todd Dunham said he had been flying for 16 years, seven of those years for the trust.

He loved his job, he said.

"Generally flying is amazing but being able to save people's lives at the same time ...

"Plus my office has the best view in the world. How could anybody not love it?"

Mr Dunham said the job came with its share of challenges too, including bad weather and being woken in the middle of the night and needing to be fly ready in 20minutes.

Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter pilot and base manager Liam Brettkelly said the trust did two and a half jobs a week on average and worked between Waihi and the far East Cape of the North Island.

In 2015 alone, the Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter saved or positively impacted the lives of 165 individuals, he said.

The majority of calls for the Tauranga-based helicopter included accidents involving motor vehicles, aviation accidents, incidents on farms, and incidents related to recreational pursuits.

As well as the two fulltime pilots, the helicopter also had four volunteers on call at all times, he said.

Trained as a motorcycle mechanic, Mr Brettkelly developed an interest in aviation over time, he said.

"Who doesn't love flying these things and helping people. Helping people is a huge part of it. Especially when they come up to you on open days like today and tell you their story and how we helped them however long ago."

Like his work colleague, Mr Brettkelly loved the view from his office: "On a nice day nothing beats that view down the coast, the water, it's absolutely beautiful.

"But I also like it when it's windy - makes the job a bit more challenging."

Mission Summary:

* July 1 2015-31 December 2015: 79 missions

* 2014/2015: 196 missions

* 2013/2014: 148 missions

* 2012/2013: 93 missions

- Bay of Plenty Times

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