About GFS

The Government Flying Service (GFS) is a department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region with an establishment of 312 civil service posts responsible for flight operations, maintenance and administration.

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 divisions:

  • Operations Division
  • Training and Standards Division
  • Engineering Division
  • Corporate Safety Division
  • Administration Division

The Operations Division is the core part of the department. It provides flying services, mainly for search and rescue, air ambulance, firefighting, and law enforcement agencies' operations.

The Training and Standards Division is responsible for setting professional standards and overseeing the training and development of all aircrews.

The Engineering Division which is an approved HKAR 145 maintenance organization and HKAR 21 design 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 Corporate Safety Division is responsible for steering and managing all safety related initiatives and cross-section safety management matters within the department.

The Administration Division 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).

Area of Responsibility

The Fleet and Roles: The fleet of eleven aircraft comprises two Bombardier Challenger 605(CL605) 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.

Fixed-wing Aircraft

Challenger 605 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.

Challenger 605

By virtue of the CL605's sophisticated equipment CL605 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 CL605'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.

In the coming future, CL605 is modified to deploy a dropsonde at high altitude to accurately measure and thereafter forecast the track and also the tropical storm conditions.

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.
Diamond DA42

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 effectiveness.

Zlin Z242L型定翼機

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.

Rotary-wing Aircraft (Helicopter)

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.

Eurocopter AS 332 L2

EC155 B1

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 accidents.

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 respectively.

Operational Conformity and Standards: The Engineering Division 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 Sea.