AIR Charter Service (ACS) recently came to the aid of a Sea King helicopter stranded on top of a mountain in the Arctic Circle after a heavy landing damaged its undercarriage.
The aircraft had been involved in a training exercise before the incident occurred, according to the charter specialists’ group cargo director Justin Lancaster.
“The nearest road was more than four miles away and the only way to retrieve it was to airlift it out,” he explains. “The Sea King weighs around 6.5 tonnes so we quickly decided that the best solution was a larger helicopter.
“We sourced the nearest Mil-26, which happened to be in Arkhangelsk, in Russia, and positioned it into the nearby base.”
The model is the largest helicopter in the world with a payload capacity of up to 20 tonnes and is designed to transport outsize cargo to remote destinations.
ACS then arranged for a small crew to travel on snowmobiles to the stranded helicopter to assess whether it was safe for the Mil-26 to land nearby or whether the aircraft would have to hover above while the Sea King was secured.
Lancaster adds: “It was a tricky load but the careful planning that we put in really paid off and resulted in a very smooth operation that only lasted one hour in total.”