The Government Flying
Service (GFS) is a department of the Government
of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region with an establishment of 229 civil service posts responsible for flight operations, maintenance
The GFS is located at the south-western corner
of the Hong Kong International Airport.
History of the GFS: The GFS began operating
on 1st April 1993 immediately after the disbandment of its
predecessor, the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force. It is
one of the disciplined services of the Government of the Hong
Kong Special Administrative Region.
Structure: The department is headed by the Controller
who reports directly to the Secretary for Security. The Controller
is supported by the following sections:
- Operations Section
- Training and Standards Section
- Engineering Section
- Quality and Flight Safety Section
- Administration Section
The Operations Section is the core part
of the department. It provides flying services, mainly for
search and rescue, air ambulance, firefighting, and law enforcement
The Training and Standards Section is responsible
for setting professional standards and overseeing the training
and development of all aircrews.
The Engineering Section which is an approved
HKAR 145 maintenance organization, well supports the flying
and operational activities. It provides virtually all the
aircraft and equipment maintenance services from within its
well-equipped and modern hangar and workshops.
The Quality and Flight Safety Section ensures
that the department's operations conform to civil aviation
flying regulations and other quality and flight safety standards.
The Administration Section provides administrative
support services to the whole department. The services it
provides include human resource management, financial management,
supplies and general administration.
Area of Responsibility: One of the major
responsibilities of the GFS lies with search and rescue operations.
Generally, the area of responsibilities covers up to 700 nautical
miles (1300 Kilometers) to include the Hong Kong Flight Information
Region (FIR) and the Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Coordination
Centre area of responsibility. Besides serving Hong Kong,
the department also assists in missions originated from the
Civil Aviation Department (CAD) and the Maritime Rescue and
Coordination Centre (MRCC).
The Fleet and Roles: The fleet of eleven aircraft
comprises two British Aerospace Jetstream 41 (J-41) fixed-wing
aircraft, one Diamond DA42 twin engine fixed-wing aircraft, one Zlin Z242L fixed-wing aircraft, three Eurocopter
AS332 L2 (Super Puma L2) helicopters and four Eurocopter EC155
B1 (EC155) helicopters.
The Jetstream 41 fixed wing
aircraft are used as the initial search aircraft for long
range search and rescue operations to guide helicopters directly
to the scene, thus extending the helicopter effective range
and/or time on scene by eliminating their need to search.
By virtue of the J-41's
sophisticated equipment J-41 is able to fly at high
altitude and long distances, they are the ideal aircraft
to perform regular patrols for detecting drug trafficking,
illegal immigrants, smuggling and environmental pollution.
The J-41's are also modified to accommodate
a modern high quality aerial survey camera to provide
photographs for the production of maps, survey of land
reclamation and associated tasks.
The Diamond DA42, a light twin-engine aircraft made of carbon composite material, is equipped with advance electronic flight instrumentation cockpit, flight management system and automatic flight control system. These enable the aircraft to operate outside Hong Kong and be used in route training to airports along the coastline of Southern China such as Macau and Zhuhai.
Meanwhile, the aircraft is used by less experienced fixed-wing pilots to accumulate quality flying experience safely and expeditiously, which will assist them to become qualified for the issue of an Airline Transport Pilot’s License more quickly than is currently the case.
The Zlin Z242L fixed wing aircraft is primarily
used as a platform for the junior pilots to build a strong
foundation for their handling skills, captaincy and operational
The Zlin Z242L is certified for single pilot operation, and it is the perfect tool for pilots to make effective and safe decisions when they are being exposed to different flying conditions and to gain pilot-in-command experience. Also, the Zlin Z242L is capable of aerobatic flight. Good handling skills stem from intensive aerobatic training, especially during the early days of a pilot’s training.
The seven helicopters are mainly used for
search and rescue, air ambulance, fire fighting, tactical
police support, lifting loads and internal cargo, airborne
monitoring in the event of a nuclear accident, the carriage
of VIPs and government passengers.
The Eurocopter AS 332 L2 helicopters
are primarily used for our long range and inshore search and
rescue mission. Their fully integrated cockpit displays, automatic
navigation and approach to hover system, combined with extra
fuel load capacity, will enable the helicopters to perform
extended range search and rescue missions up to 200nm with
1 hour on scene time. The range can be further extended when
refuelling from an oilrig is available in the direction of
the emergency. There are also advanced equipment onboard which
further enhanced the safety and effectiveness of search at
night. In addition, the spacious cabin of the Super Puma L2
can carry up to 6 stretchers and provides a comfortable platform
for casualty transfer, whilst its new onboard medical equipment
would allow for the immediate treatment of patient or casualty.
In the internal security role, the
Super Puma L2 is able to deploy up to 23 police officers
and equipment expeditiously to support any police operations.
The helicopter can be fitted with a
belly-installed Fire Attack system to perform aerial
water-bombing to combat country park fires and its heavy
lift capability enables the deployment of ground personnel
to assist with firefighting operations.
The EC155 B1 helicopters
are used primarily for aeromedical services for Hong
Kong people in response to emergency callouts from clinics
throughout the territory or directly to the scene of
The EC155 helicopters also provide
a 'Support Flying' service for all government departments
in respect of VIP tours of Hong Kong, JP movement to
remote locations, photography of construction projects,
transportation of personnel and equipment in support
of numerous government services located on hilltops
and outlying islands.
Both Super Puma L2 and EC155 helicopters
are frequently used to support the Hong Kong Police force
with extensive training carried out to maintain an effective
Special Duties team responsible for internal security and
the control of terrorist activities.
Due to their very good in-flight performance,
both types of helicopters are used for in-shore day and night
search and rescue, especially in the mountains.
On average, the fixed-wing and helicopter
fleet flies approximately 2000 hours and 5000 hours per year
Operational Conformity and Standards:
The Engineering Section was awarded the ISO 9002 Certificate
in April 1994. In February 1998, the Flying Sections of the
GFS were awarded the ISO 9002 Certificate for quality flying
services. It is the first time that the operational element
of a flying organization anywhere in the world has been awarded
this accreditation. The awards recognize the commitment of
the GFS in maintaining a customer focus for all of its services
to the people of Hong Kong in addition to meeting the stringent
operational and maintenance requirements set by the Civil
Aviation Department and the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency.
The GFS successfully converted the ISO 9002 certification
to the ISO 9001:2000 version in 2003.
All the flying and engineering activities are monitored by
both internal and external quality audit organizations. Regular
inspections are carried out by internal and external auditors.
The Future: Our goal is
to provide a world-class emergency air services to the local
community and those who earn their livings in the South China