TCSAR gets heli a month early

JACKSON, Wyo. — The “Helicopter Express” has landed in Jackson just in time for Teton County Search and Rescue to put it to use.

TCSAR secured a new contract with Helicopter Express, a new aviation provider also used by the Jenny Lake Climbing Rangers and U.S. Forest Service during the summer. The contract allows TCSAR to have access to a helicopter during the month of October, when the contract is usually over.

The new chopper arrived Oct. 1 and was put to use almost immediately. The very next day, SAR was called to assist an injured hunter stranded 17 miles in the backcountry.

TSCAR’s new helicopter in short-haul training. Photo: TCSAR

TCSAR typically has access to an interagency helicopter through partnerships with the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. In the past, the helicopter wasn’t solely dedicated to TCSAR until November, leaving a gap in coverage during peak hunting season. Thanks to private fundraising efforts and a successful Heli Yes fundraising campaign, TCSAR was able to secure a helicopter a month earlier. The contract with Helicopter Express allows its helicopter to be stationed at the SAR hangar on Batch Plant Road from Oct. 1 until May 21.

TSCAR Foundation will host another Heli Yes campaign this spring to cover an outstanding balance due to the budget cycle.

Helicopter Express’ lead pilot for Teton County is local resident Steve Wilson. Wilson flies for the NPS and USFS in the summer months and has flown with High Mountain Heli-Skiing in the winter.


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