The past few weeks have seen the two Huey Beck Helicopter become well known to residents of Christchurch’s Port Hills after they came in to help battle the fire in the Port Hills.


Widely associated with the Vietnam War, the Beck helicopter choppers is currently being used by the duo of Alan Beck, owner of Eltham’s Beck Helicopters and Richie McCaw, former All Blacks Rugby player.

The fire went on to scorch no less than 2000 hectares before finally being contained. However, Beck believes that the area is still not yet totally out of danger. As such, the well-known Taranaki flying ace has been drafted to remain on standby in Christchurch, while Beck will loan out one of his company’s Hueys to the Christchurch Helicopters, until the fire season comes to an end.

The chopper, which adorns the white, red and black colours has been renamed “Excalibur” after the famous bat used by cricketer Lance Cairns.

“It shows you the extent to which they are still worried about this thing flaring and if they can handle it or not,” he said.

“People will get to know that Excalibur is here to save you,” Beck continued.

“The sound of the Huey is associated with help arriving, it’s from the old Vietnam days.”

McCaw serves as the wingman for Beck as they went on to fight the blazes in the area. Beck is also hoping that he can train a couple of pilots later this week, while also helping to fill some strategic dams in case the fire decides to show up again.

He also noted that till May, this period would be a very toxic time for the area as it is always so dry down there around this time, thus making it easy for fires to spread.