Skilled pilots and kitted out helicopters make great fire-fighters

January 20th, 2017

Firefighting longline lifting job

Photo: @live24 New Zealand

We had the first major call-out of the summer recently to go and help fight a large scrub fire above Lake Wakatipu near Queenstown. We joined seven other helicopters and about 50 ground crew to fight the 150 hectare fire, which was apparently started by a camp fire.

For us the specialised monsoon buckets generally spend more time in the hangar than in the air – a good thing really – but when the call comes in to use one it’s all hands on deck to get them out the door ASAP.

Long-line jobs are a favourite among pilots, there’s a different skill set involved with maneuvering gear rather than guests!

Our pilots are lucky to have a variety of jobs here. Whilst they all enjoy taking visiting tourist on scenic flights and showing off the Lake Wanaka region there’s an increased level of anticipation when the scenery changes and the flying intensity increases.  It’s often a case of paper-scissors-rock for those jobs!

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