A detached operation is highly demanding on helicopters. But it proves you can operate anywhere. This is hugely important for protracted aid operations.
Our first major detached operation ended on 30 January 2015. It was 13 months long. Its output was bigger crop yields for the Southern African famine of 2014. Our helicopter, ZS-HPU was away from regular airstrips and maintenance. She used bare-base facilities. She was crop spraying in the High and Lowveld in South Africa. A detached operation is not just about crop spraying. It can be a survey, VIP flying, cargo work or disaster response too. If you want to learn more about our operations why not Contact Us? We can act as consultants if you need a different helicopter, and we do not always charge for that!
Lessons from detached operations
Our CEO, Adrian Nance spent much of his early aviation life on ships with one helipad operating in the middle of the ocean. One example is as Captain of HMS CARDIFF in the 1991 Gulf War. These involved many lessons for detached operations. Distances were large. The environment was hostile, salty and highly corrosive. Bad weather was always a risk. In combat, there were always issues of achieving the mission and keeping the crew safe. The first lesson is that a detached operation requires a different mindset.
It takes lots of effort to sustain a detached operation too. It needs a good maintenance staff who can quickly get to the helicopter. Our work in 2014 has drawn heavily on Greystones Aviation Components and Nicholson Helicopters. We are hugely grateful for their experience. Nicholson has supported Eskom Aviation’s detached power line surveys for a long time. They are based at Grand Central Airport, Jo’burg. Greystones supports several aviation operators from Durban. Why not check them out? Both are used to finding answers that work in the bush. They may be able to help you too….
After a good mindset and sustainment, a detached operation requires a good operator. We have been blessed with the services of King Shaka Aviation in Durban. Their experience of detached operations and attentive flight following have been key to overseeing safe flying.
A detached operation also requires a good understanding of the environment. Highveld altitudes vary between 5000 and 6500 ft above sea level. Highveld temperatures vary between zero and 35 degrees. The Lowveld is between 500 and 2000 feet. Its temperatures vary between 6 and 23 degrees and between 19 and 30 degrees depending on the season. Sometimes temperatures of 40 degrees occur. This is demanding flying. Those numbers affect how much a helicopter can carry and how long it can fly for. Also helicopter crop spraying is used for more isolated farmlands. This means accurate flying near tree lines, escarpments and in highly variable winds. We have been well served by the Helitractor pilot, Eugene Kalafatis in all of this.
A detached operation has many lessons. This one has kept us focused on providing the best service for people affected by disasters. Want to know more? Why not Contact Us?
Keep on learning about detached operations
There will be even more lessons as we complete a full check out of the helicopter. We never stop learning. Please let us know if we can help you. Helicopters faster to disasters in Africa, that is what we do! Thank you.