Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mobile Medevac

Why is it always Friday afternoon when you get the call for an urgent flight? Why can't people be sick on a Monday morning?! This time one of the mobile phone companies has a sick worker at a cell tower site, isolated on the top of one of the many mountains in PNG. It was too late to be able to collect him that day as, apart from anything else, the site was already shrouded in cloud. 

So, early Saturday morning I prepared to collect him. Despite the early start, the weather was already not looking too promising as I approached the site.

But thankfully appearances can be deceptive - the cloud was sitting in front of the hill, so the site itself was clear.

I was grateful to have recently completed my refresher mountain training, as the site was at just under 8000 ft - our company limit for normal mountain ops. And also because, whilst they clear sufficient space to land, it's not exactly generous.

The landing site is to the left of the tower

There's enough space for the skids, plus a bit to be able to squeeze from one side of the helicopter to the other - what more could I want?!

At least I don't have to worry about anyone walking into the tail rotor!
The rest of the flight was thankfully simple - load the passengers and head back to base. I believe the sick guy was fine.

I really take my hat off to the guys who re-supply these places with loads slung 200 ft or more under the helicopter - that's some tricky flying!

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