HP Helicopters has a long history of supporting off road motorsports. We have extensive Baja experience and have chased for many teams and top drivers in the sport. Our medium helicopters are the perfect platform to provide air support for all races including the Mint 400, Parker 425, Baja 500 and the Baja 1000. Our large 14 passenger helicopter is equipped with aux fuel tanks for 4+ hours of continuous flight time and all the interior space for fire suppression and driver extraction equipment in the event of a crash. One of the main purposes of the helicopter is to provide the driver with advanced notice of any imminent dangers associated with oncoming traffic, spectators, motorcycles, wrecks and livestock. With just a little advanced notice from the helicopter flight crew the driver can greatly reduce the risks associated with off road racing for himself and others. As race cars drive 130+ mph through the desert, things happen fast and when things go wrong it is invaluable to have a emergency response team overhead ready to help.
If there is an incident with the race car the helicopter is already there and loaded with fire extinguishers, driver extraction tools and a on board medic. Our number one priority is to safely remove the driver and navigator from the wreckage (unless injuries prohibit this), suppress fire and coordinate the appropriate emergency response tactics. Every situation is different but common communication and coordination tactics include the following objectives:
1- Ensure approaching race traffic has adequate warning if the wreckage is close to the race course
2- Radio relay the incident specifics to the proper event race radio frequency
3- Coordinate with the life flight helicopter or ground ambulances as needed via VHF and UHF radios to expedite professional medical aid.
4- Inform and update the race cars support team on the driver/navigators initial health condition and current medical treatment strategy.
If there are no apparent dangers to report, the flight crews don’t talk to the race cars during a race. It is intended that helicopter air support is only utilized for photography, incident avoidance and emergency response. Race promoters such as B.I.T.D and S.C.O.R.E are very adamant about helicopters not being used to create a competitive advantage over the smaller race teams that can not afford the air support. Our helicopters are based in the center of off road racing and are only 30 minutes flight time from the Barstow testing grounds. Whether your testing or racing, HP Helicopters can add a significant level of safety to your race program and help insure that both drivers and navigators return safely.