New exciting tool for forest ecology
Heli Niugini Limited (HNL) is one of the few helicopter companies worldwide to have constructed a 50-metre-high scientific research crane in the middle of the jungle using an MI-8 helicopter.
The project site in Madang is unique in that it is isolated and untouched with minimal environmental footprint for the scientific conservation and research project that studies the jungle canopy.
This was revealed by HNL Senior Loadmaster Mick Bingham who said PNG is one of the few countries to undertake this scientific conservation project with one in Cairns, Australia, two in Japan and one in Brazil’s Amazon jungle in South America.
“It is a unique site, because it is precision flying with a very high difficulty factor… it’s probably the most difficult thing to do in PNG”, he said.
“Because of the precision needed. we had to work early in the mornings when it was daybreak to avoid any wind…” Mick says.
HNL installed a 50-metre-high Liebherr Crane using a Russian manufactured MI-8 helicopter and completed the project in five days with two no-fly days because of bad weather.
“We had Russian specialists helping with the project including the pilot, co-pilot and engineer with Chris Black, Yaki Gambandu and me on the NHL team”.
“Our planning had to be meticulous to get the job done,” Mick says.
The Russian MI-8 is one of the largest helicopters in the world with a lifting capacity of five tonnes at sea level. HNL has four MI-8 helicopters, two each with five tonnes and four tonnes lifting capacities, one currently working in Tabubil.
HNL provides helicopter logistic services to the mining oil and gas industry moving heavy loads that would otherwise take longer and cost more il roads had to be constructed.
The project started with the construction of a 6×6 steel concrete slab to stabilise the 50m high crane.
Asked about the use of technology on the MI-8, Mick stressed the importance of keeping up-to-date with advancements and changes in communications and digital technology.
He revealed that the MI-8 is one of the most used helicopters in the world as a greater utility model with advanced technology built-in the 80’s that is still used today.
The crew for the Madang project included Captain Eugeny Nikikyuk, Co-Pilot Alexander Druzhinin, Flight Engineer Rustan Ibrahimov, Senior LoadMaster Mick Bingham, Chris Black and Yaki Gambandu, the only local directly involved.