Mount Rainier began its helitack program in 2015 when it initiated a 120-day annual exclusive use contract for an Airbus AS350 B3 helicopter to allow Mount Rainier climbing rangers to perform short-haul helicopter rescue operations. Mount Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic national parks now share a dedicated short-haul rescue helicopter on contract for the summer season. The three parks train together and have worked to hone their communication to allow for the interoperability witnessed on Sunday. The parks’ exclusive use rescue helicopter is owned, piloted, and maintained by Helicopter Express, Inc. based in Chamblee, Georgia. This coverage is in addition to the National Park Service’s long-lived relationship with the U.S. Army Reserve, Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Force which also perform helicopter rescues in the parks.
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