15. August 2000 10:42
by Rene Pallesen

Helicopters . . .

15. August 2000 10:42 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

Ecochallenge ( Sabah 2000 )

Magellan HotelMoving into SilamRepeater StationInjured CompetitorTransporting a Repeater StationBeetleKids in Village
ArrivalSilam / Jungle OpsRepeater StationsThe CompetitorsHelicopterJungle Around UsThe Village

Helicopters . . .
The radio communications team had to arrive a few days before that because we had to hand out over 2,000 pieces of radio equipment. We had problems getting the necessary approvals for helicopters so they were grounded! I ended having to hand out most of the equipment as Glen and Paul had to sort out our use of the helicopters.

We had to fly all the equipment to Silam before the start of the race, and our team managed to fly to Silam the day before the race started.

Do you believe that Paul managed to take a photo of me whilst I was flying the chopper? He was standing to the side of me, and took the photo at night time, with the door open ...

Jeez, I would love to be the pilot!Don't you think I look good as the chopper's pilot?

Just kidding.

A couple of days before the race started, I was at the airport most of the day. We had some problems with the radios in the helicopters... I must have been in and out of those helicopters at least 200 times.

I did manage to get someone to take some photos of me in a helicopter, looking very much like the pilot!

I had hoped that I had the time to explore Kota Kinabalue, but we were so busy, it had to wait.

Helicopters at HQ

Here is the 212 or "Huey" - a twin-turbine Vietnam helicopter taking off. It is a hell a lot more powerful than some of the other helicopters we were using, which were 206s.
Landing at HQ

Here are the medical guys practising abseiling out of the helicopters (Aussie style)!

At the start of the race, I was sitting there listening to the first rescue on the radio.

3 hours after the start, four boats had capsized... helicopters and boats were very busy!

The competitors were due to arrive at Silam (another checkpoint) the next day (21st Aug).

For the first few days after the race started, I had to help organise to get the fuel to the top of the mountain.

After that the helicopter came in useful. It brought up 100 litres of fuel on the 4th day so I did not have to ferry fuel anymore!

Glen with repeater stationAt site of repeater station

At the end of the race, we had to sling-load the repeaters, to get them off the mountain. That means we had to strap them onto the helicopters, and pull them off the mountains that way - quite effective really.

Transporting Equipment Photo 2Transporting Equipment Photo 6Transporting Equipment Photo 4Transporting Equipment Photo 5
Transporting Equipment Photo 1Transporting Equipment Photo 3

Repeater station finally airborne!

You can see a pole in the right photo.
My girlfriend asked me what it was for - it helps balance the load so that it does not keep swinging whilst airborne.

Below, you will see some pretty good photos from the chopper.

View from chopper - over the riverView from chopper of jungles belowView from chopper - over the river

Towards the end of the race, we had to scan the rivers for the last competitors coming in - to make sure they had completed this section of the race course. It was low-altitude flying of the river-bed.

The photo on the left shows the chopper approaching Silam Village. This village was located just outside of Silam HQ.

Aerial view of the villageMe sitting in helicopter

Glen liked wanted to have a photo of the back of my head - and I ruined the photo by turning my head as he took it...

Here's a sunset shot of the helicopters flying around.

I had to put in this fantastic photo - the lighting gives a really nice feel to the photo.

Sunset shot

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Created: 7 Dec 2001
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