The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office and Two Bear Air are pleased to announce the arrival of the much-anticipated Bell 429 rescue helicopter. This helicopter is the flagship of a unique public/private philanthropic partnership between Flathead County and philanthropist Mike Goguen of Whitefish.
“Residents and visitors are drawn to enjoy the natural resources and rugged atmosphere of our area, but this influx of growth has also brought more people into secluded areas requiring additional resources,” said Jordan White, executive director of Two Bear Air. “Two years ago when we began raising money for public safety aviation, I never dreamed that we would have such an amazing gift of a world-class helicopter.”
“You can’t put a value on saving even one life,” said Goguen. “Montana is a place where we help our neighbors and I feel privileged to be able to give this gift to the Flathead Valley community.”
The Bell 429 took over a year to build and is equipped with highly advanced technology specifically selected to aid in the search for missing persons and to facilitate complex rescues in our mountainous terrain. Pilots from Two Bear Air and a flight crew of sheriff’s office personnel staff the helicopter on missions.
The new twin-engine helicopter adds additional capabilities beyond what was previously offered by Two Bear Air’s smaller MD 500 E, single-engine helicopter. Features like night vision, specialized cameras, 3-D mapping systems and a rescue hoist make it a world-class aircraft of the likes never seen before in Flathead County.
The flight crew has spent the past month being trained on the helicopter’s technical equipment and have already flown several public safety missions. Additional training will be ongoing as the team works with search and rescue teams and other agencies across the region.
The aircraft will be on display for the first time this weekend, November 9-10 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the parking lot of the new Cabela’s store in Kalispell. Crew members will be available to answer questions about the aircraft, the program, and provide tips for staying safe in the outdoors.
About Two Bear Air
Based in Whitefish, Montana, Two Bear Air provides world-class aviation support for search and rescue teams in Flathead County and other agencies across the region. Using the most advanced technology available, Whitefish philanthropist Mike Goguen supports all costs of the operation with zero cost to taxpayers, with the mission of ultimately saving lives. Two Bear Air works in close partnership with the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office and Kalispell Regional Medical Center’s ALERT helicopter, adding to the rich history of rural aviation support across the rugged and vast landscape near Glacier National Park. For more information, visit www.TwoBearAir.org.
Editor note – This Bell 429 has been delivered following the accident to the previous helicopter, a Bell 407 – see 25-Apr-13 N937GR Bell 407 Mount Aeneas, US-Montana
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