Kestrel’s new complex completed.

August 2014

Kestrel’s state of the art office and hanger facility is now fully functional.  The facility features offices, stores, specialist maintenance and overhaul areas, radio and electrical repair shop and a helicopter simulator room.  This has now consolidated Kestrel’s capable staff and resources under the one roof allowing for an efficient and pleasant working environment. The temporary offices have been reverted back to a 7 bedroom accommodation facility – providing quality accommodation to crew on the base.


Erickson aircranes in Australia and ready for duty!

15 October 2013

Kestrel is off to a flying start with the arrival in Australia last week of the first two aircranes for the season- Gypsy Lady and Ichabod- in the back of a Russian Antonov cargo aircraft.

In response to the unexpectedly early declaration of the NSW fire season, Erickson went to extraordinary efforts, spending close to $1m to hire the aircraft to bring the aircranes from Greece, to ensure adequate firefighting resources.

Not only has the season started earlier but predictions are for continuing warm and dry conditions. The Erickson aircranes’ high volume water bombing capacity and advanced delivery systems will significantly enhance the efforts of on-ground firefighters.

Kestrel has been awarded a contract for up to five years by the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) to provide aerial firefighting services using the aircranes in Victoria, NSW (two aircranes each), South Australia and Western Australia (one aircrane each). The six Erickson aircranes that will service this contract are identical E-model aircraft. The E-model is faster so can turn over loads more frequently than the higher volume F-model. Having six identical aircraft also means there will be scale and service benefits including commonality of spare parts.

Under the five year agreement, Erickson will provide the aircranes, pilots, spare parts and maintenance services, while Kestrel will provide on-ground support and co-ordination from its operations base in Central Victoria, liaison with the government and firefighting services, and in-air servicing from its own helicopter fleet.

Kestrel wins NAFC firefighting contracts

September 2013

Kestrel has been awarded National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) five-year contracts for helicopter high-volume water-bombing services in Victoria, NSW, South Australia and Western Australia, including Erickson Aircrane and Light Air Attack helicopters.

Kestrel enters an agreement with Erickson to operate Aircranes in Australia

August 2013

Kestrel has formed a cooperative agreement with Canadian company Erickson Incorporated to operate the versatile heavy-lift Erickson S26 Aircranes in Australia.

Erickson enjoys a reputation as the worldwide leader in high volume aerial firebombing and is currently the largest provider of heavy heli-tanker firefighting aircraft to the US Forest Service. Erickson has operated S26 Aircranes globally since 1992 and in Australia for more than 15 years.

The combination of Kestrel’s proven track record, local operation and well-equipped fleet, with Erickson’s renowned Aircranes, technical expertise and global firefighting experience, delivers unparalleled helicopter firefighting capability in Australia.

Erickson will base a team of pilots and technicians in Australia to operate and maintain the Aircranes, working with Kestrel’s team to deliver seamless and quality service to its clients.

Kestrel’s new office complex in progress

24 July 2013

Kestrel’s new office complex is taking shape rapidly with the framework and roof trusses expected to be completed by the end of July. This extension will provide a start-of-the-art facility and enable Kestrel to operate a dedicated, 24-hour Operations Centre employing the latest in fleet monitoring and operational technology.


Building progress

21 June 2013

This week saw the first pour of the foundations for the new workshops, parts store, simulator facility and office complex.

With great anticipation all staff  are looking forward to the consolidation of all facets of Kestrel’s activities at Mangalore allowing the team to work more coherently and efficiently.

Standby for updates of our building progress.



Annual Staff De-brief

May 2013

On Tuesday 30 April, Kestrel employees climbed aboard two of their helicopters and set off the the Fraser Island Retreat in the Southern Gippsland region for the annual ‘end of fire season’ de-brief. The 2 day briefing proved to be extremely productive, with some time for fun and relaxation at the end of the day.

The briefing started with an overview delivered by Managing Director Raymond Cronin of the 2012/13 fire season. Staff had been given the opportunity to provide feedback on the season prior to the de-brief; what we had done well, and areas that we could improve on. This feedback proved extremely valuable and with the biggest fire season ever in Victoria behind us, this was the perfect opportunity to involve all staff in improving existing systems and implementing new systems and procedures where required to ensure that the services provided to the government agencies is always the best that it possibly can be.

Kestrel’s dedicated and enthusiastic staff all contributed to the de-brief and the breadth of experience and capability amongst the flight crew, engineers and administration staff was evident throughout all of the sessions. With a dispatch rate for the contracted fleet of 99.98%, all staff can be proud of working together as an effective team; new procedures for the coming fire season will focus on gaining more efficiencies and keeping ahead with research and development.

At the end of the de-brief, Shirley remained unbeaten and was declared the table tennis champion, and Ray voted himself best and fairest on the golf course. The accommodation, facilities and catering at the Fraser Island Resort were absolutely fabulous and it was with some sadness that we all headed back to Mangalore on the third day.

New addition to Kestrel’s fleet

Kestrel have recently added another Bell 212 VH-NNN to the fleet which  was purchased from Commercial Helicopters of Mudgee.

VH-NNN joins the company with a fresh paint scheme and a fresh 3000 hourly/five year inspection ready for a clear run in the 2012/13 fire season.

All credit to OZ Choppers and Commercial Helicopters of Mudgee for the quality of their workmanship and final presentation of the helicopter.

We look forward to VH-NNN being a valuable contribution to the Kestrel fleet.

R22 Beta For Sale VH-KHL

R22 Beta


1991 Model

S/N: 1659

Maintenance Release Hours: 4397.8  TTSN

Requires an air frame and engine overhaul kit.

Price: P.O.A

For more information please contact us on (03) 57962373 or alternatively at

New Kestrel logo & website

June, 2012

Kestrel is pleased to launch its new logo and website.

We have modernized the logo while maintaining our longstanding identity with the Kestrel bird, which is unique in that it can both hover and fly.

Our new website reflects our increasing focus on emergency response, and on providing transport solutions to mining companies and other clients in remote, inaccessible areas.

We hope you like the logo and website, and we look forward to assisting you with your specialist helicopter requirements.