A new training system in the BayTrust Rescue Helicopter hangar means there will be lots of ups and downs for crewmen.

The hangar is now home to a winch-training system, which means more people can be trained in winching for when patients need to be rescued from perilous spots and at no cost.

BayTrust pilot Art Kowalski said training sessions in the past could cost about $2000 an hour and would only allow up to three people to be trained in that time due to space in the helicopter.

"We can do everything in here," he said.


"It's more about learning the procedures so when they go into the field all that training has been done. With this, we're saving a considerable amount of time and money. We don't charge an hourly rate but most commercial operators are about $2000 an hour for the same kind of machine."

The indoor system means training is not weather dependent and more than three people can be trained in one session.

Those who require training include the volunteer helicopter crewmen, St John paramedics, search and rescue members and rescue swimmers.

The winch system is set up just like the real thing with those in training required to follow all the same procedures, including the use of headsets.

The system would have cost between $10,000 and $12,000 but all parts and labour were donated.

The crew has used its winch quite recently, picking up lost hunters and an injured mountain biker among them.