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- This articles presents an overview of LEGO rescue helicopters. For a list of sets named "Rescue helicopter" see Rescue Helicopter (Disambiguation).
A rescue helicopter is a specialized helicopter with equipment for rescue missions. LEGO renditions of rescue helicopters are usually equipped with a winch and have sufficient internal space to transport medical personnel and patients on stretchers. Most rescue helicopters belong to the Coast Guard, the rest is part of the EMS or belongs to other unspecified groups.
The first LEGO rescue helicopters already appeared in 1973 when minifigures were not yet available. The set contained a Red Cross helicopter that had no internal space whatsoever. Besides the Red Cross markings, the chopper had very little what set it apart from LEGO models of regular helicopters. One year later a different rescue chopper with accessible yet empty interior was released. The first full-fledged rescue helicopter was included in 770 Rescue Set from 1976, which contained the LEGOLAND Minifigures. This helicopter had a large compartment behind the cockpit where a patient on a stretcher could be stored.
The first minifigure-compatible rescue helicopter (6691 Red Cross Helicopter) was released in 1981. The set included a stretcher that could be stored in a spacious area behind the cockpit and could be accessed through doors at the aft and a large opening at the right. Interestingly, another set from the same year that was dubbed 6626 Rescue Helicopter was neither minifigure-compatible nor did it feature any special features. The next actual rescue chopper (6697 Rescue-I Helicopter) was a yellow Coastguard helicopter with an opening at the left and a winch to hoist a rescuer.
6482 Rescue Helicopter from 1989 was the first tandem rotor helicopter and also the largest LEGO System helicopter at its time. It was equipped with a 9V battery block to power its flashing lights and offerend enough internal space for a stretcher with a patient and a medic. In the same year, another rescue helicopter was included in the set 6387 Coastal Rescue Base, but the only feature that distinguished it from normal helicopters this chopper was a winch. A new design appeared in 1993 with 6342 Beach Rescue Chopper, which was an amphibious coastguard helicopter with pontoons. In the following year, a new coastguard base included a small helicopter with winch, similar to the one from the first coastguard base. Another small chopper with a winch appeared in 1998. In the same year, the theme Res-Q was introduced, which featured a lot of sets related to rescue missions. One of those sets, 6462 Aerial Recovery, featured a large rescue helicopter that could once again accept a stretcher. This helicopter had a very futuristic streamlined design unlike earlier models which were overall more round or boxy.
The next rescue chopper did not appear until 2004 as a part of World City and was once again a coastguard helicopter. This was the first one with a twin cockpit in which two pilots could sit side by side. In 2006, with 7903 Rescue Helicopter, the first EMS rescue helicopter since 6691 Red Cross Helicopter from 1981 was released. This helicopter had a very unusual design unlike any previous rescue chopper, but offered enough internal room to transport a stretcher. Another large rescue helicopter (7738 Coast Guard Helicopter & Life Raft) was released in 2007 in the City theme and was the largest LEGO System helicopter set to date. This helicopter contained a twin cockpit as well and featured an electric powered winch.
There are basically two major categories of minifigure-compatible rescue helicopters: first, small one-man choppers that are (at most) equipped with a winch and appear as auxiliary model in larger sets; second, larger helicopters with a unique design that are the main feature of the LEGO set they appear in.
The small helicopters usually have a design that is quite common among other small helicopters. The cockpit mostly has a round or bulbous windshield and is mostly open at the sides, but their are exceptions. There is no other room on board besides the cockpit. The only thing that sets them apart from other small helicopter is a winch, although some do not even include one, such as the chopper in 1896 Trauma Team which had stretchers attached to its skids.
The large helicopters mostly feature a fully enclosed cockpit and an additional compartment behind it, which offers enough room for a medic and/or a stretcher. These helicopters are mostly equipped with winches whose ropes hang from a boom that extends from one side of the chopper. An extraordinary design is the tandem rotor helicopter from 6482 Rescue Helicopter.
|6691 Red Cross Helicopter||1981||Town||First minifigure-compatible rescue chopper, contains space for stretcher, hatch at the aft.||EMS (Red Cross)|
|6697 Rescue-I Helicopter||1985||Town||First coastguard rescue chopper, contains winch with boom, small back compartment, no stretcher.||Coastguard|
|included in 6387 Coastal Rescue Base||1989||Town||Small one-man chopper with winch.||Coastguard|
|6482 Rescue Helicopter||1989||Town / Flight||First twin rotor helicopter, large internal space, 9V-block, includes stretcher, hatch at the aft.||unknown|
|Included in 1896 Trauma Team.||1991||Town||Small one-man chopper with stretchers on the skids.||unknown|
|6342 Beach Rescue Chopper||1993||Town||Amphibious helicopter, contains winch with boom, small back compartment, no stretcher.||Coastguard|
|included in 6338 Hurricane Harbor||1994||Town||Small one-man chopper with winch.||Coastguard|
|2531 Rescue Chopper||1998||Town (Promotional)||Small one-man chopper with winch.||unknown|
|6462 Aerial Recovery||1998||Res-Q||contains winch with boom, enough space for stretcher||Res-Q-Team|
|7044 Rescue Chopper||2004||World City||twin cockpit, contains winch with boom, enough space for stretcher||Coastguard|
|7903 Rescue Helicopter||2006||City||contains enough space for stretcher, equipped with winch||EMS|
|included in 7892 Hospital||2006||City||small one-man chopper with a stretcher on one of the skids||EMS|
|7738 Coast Guard Helicopter & Life Raft||2007||City||twin cockpit, contains winch with boom, back compartment with enough space for stretcher||Coastguard|
|2230 Helicopter and Raft||2008||City (Promotional)||small one-man chopper with winch||unknown|
Sets without standard minifigures
| included in 653 Ambulance and Helicopter|
460 Rescue Units (US)
|1973||LEGOLAND||not minifigure-compatible (microscale), no interior||Red Cross|
|691 Rescue helicopter||1974||LEGOLAND||not minifigure-compatible||unknown|
|480 Rescue Helicopter (US)||1975|
|included in 770 Rescue Set||1976||LEGOLAND||"Hand-in-pocket" figures||Red Cross|
|6626 Rescue Helicopter||1981||Town||Small set, not minifigure-compatible (microscale).||EMS (Red Cross)|
|610 Rescue Helicopter||1989||promotional (Air Canada)||not minifigure-compatible||unknown|
|5866 Rotor Rescue||2010||Creator||open in the middle||unknown|
Sets with rescue helicopters
- 653 Ambulance and Helicopter, a LEGOLAND set from 1973 (released in the US as 460 Rescue Units)
- 691 Rescue helicopter, a LEGOLAND set from 1974 (released in the US in 1975 as 480 Rescue Helicopter
- 770 Rescue Set, (1976)
- 6626 Rescue Helicopter, (1981)
- 6691 Red Cross Helicopter, (1981)
- 6697 Rescue-I Helicopter, (1985)
- 610 Rescue Helicopter, an Air Canada promotional set from 1987
- 6482 Rescue Helicopter, (1989)
- 6342 Beach Rescue Chopper (1993)
- 6462 Aerial Recovery (1998)
- 7044 Rescue Chopper (2004)
- 7903 Rescue Helicopter, a City set from (2006)
- 7738 Coast Guard Helicopter & Life Raft (2007)