Kamov Helicopter Ferry

An exciting helicopter ferry from Indonesia to Antarctica and back home again. Planes, Boats, Trucks, and an Earthquake made this one of the more interesting projects our team has worked on.

Lyttleton Port, New Zealand. Our client’s heavy-lifting helicopter sits peacefully aboard an Icebreaker. In ten minutes time, an explosive 6.3 magnitude earthquake will hit, with an epi-centre just 2 kilometres from here.

Perched aboard the R.V. Araon, a mammoth ice breaking ship belonging to the Korean Polar Research Institute, Kamov Ka-32 HL9470 was probably in the best place to withstand the oncoming quake.

Nonetheless, for World Air Ops, the aftermath presented some significant hurdles. Mark Zee, Director of Flight Operations at World Air Ops explains: “For an unusual flight, things were routine. Our task was to manage the entire journey of the helicopter, being repositioned from Antarctica to Indonesia (World Air Ops also provided the helicopter ferry from Indonesia to Antarctica). The Kamov had just arrived in port near Christchurch, completing a week long sailing from the Ice, and we were planning the final stages of it’s flight across New Zealand. The earthquake changed all our plans. Once we had established that everyone involved was ok, we were relieved, but the ship was sailing for a new port further South, and we only had hours to organise a long list of tasks to keep the mission on schedule. Fuel, landing permissions, customs clearance, flight plans – and most difficult of all, finding a replacement com/nav pilot that had been arranged for Christchurch.”

When asked about the outcome of the trip, Mr. Zee further states, “We did it though, and the achievement was very satisfying. From there, we put the helicopter back on a ship and sailed it to Papua New Guinea, where we achieved another milestone: the first helicopter departure from Port Moresby port. That was achieved by several days of negotiation with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the Port Management. It was almost more difficult than the arrangements in New Zealand, but it saved the client around $20,000 in trucking fees, so it was worth the long hours put in to it. Given the challenges, the Kamov trip was one of our most rewarding missions.”

The World Air Ops team thrives with this sort of mission support which requires imaginative and out of the box thinking. We invite you to bring us your unique challenges and see how we best address them to save you time and money.

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