Details of the brand new Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter have been unveiled.

The twin engine AgustaWestland AW169 helicopter, imported from Italy, will now be flying the sky in Auckland with a top speed of 160 knots.

Pilot James Tayler said there might only be about 100 across the world.

"There is nothing close to it."


Tayler said over the years the nature of the rescue work they did had changed.

"We bring the hospital to the patient," he said.

The new helicopter gave paramedics more room to work on the patient during flight, he said.

It was roomy enough it afforded the possibility of taking two patients at a time.

But that would be the exception to the rule, Tayler said, adding a second or third helicopter would be called in before they resorted to taking that measure.

Colleague and fellow pilot Johnny Stanton said it was more likely the helicopter would take multiple patients in the event of a "massive" natural disaster.

Stanton said the improved visibility from the larger windows would be one of the advantages added to their search and rescue capability.

The navigational systems also calculated the best flight path to search, he said.


The additional fuel the AW169 carried had also extended the timeframe the helicopter could remain in the air during a search from two to nearly three hours.

Both pilots praised the way the machine handled.

"I still can't believe someone pays me to do something I love so much," Tayler said.