Montana: New rescue helicopter finally in service


Two Bear Air has announced the arrival of its long-awaited custom Bell 429 rescue helicopter. The search-and-rescue agency ordered the helicopter late last year with delivery initially slated for this spring. Delivery of the helicopter was delayed, however, due to U.S. government technology control requirements.

While much of the equipment was installed in Canada, the helicopter then had to be assembled and flown to the United States for installation of certain equipment, such as thermal imaging apparatus, that cannot be installed outside this country.

The red, white and blue helicopter took more than a year to build and was finally delivered last month.

Two Bear Air has working partnerships with the Sheriff’s Office, Kalispell Regional Medical Center’s ALERT helicopter, Flathead County Search and Rescue, North Valley Search and Rescue, Flathead Nordic Ski Patrol and other local search-and-rescue resources.

All search-and-rescue missions involving the Sheriff’s Office and members of other local agencies are directed by Sheriff Chuck Curry. While flying missions, Two Bear Air pilots are deputies of the Sheriff’s Office. The helicopter’s pilots are dispatched by the Sheriff’s Office.

Those interested in getting a look at the new helicopter can see it on display at the new Cabela’s store in north Kalispell over the weekend. Crew members will be available to answer questions about the aircraft and the program.

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