January 9 - Air Charter Service (ACS) has rescued a Sea King helicopter which had been stranded on top of a mountain in the Arctic Circle.
The Sea King damaged its undercarriage after a heavy landing during a training exercise and was unable to fly back to base under its own power.
According to Justin Lancaster, group cargo director at ACS, the helicopter was stuck 6.4 km from the nearest road and the only way to retrieve it was to airlift it out.
"The Sea King weighs around 6.5 tonnes, so we quickly decided that the best solution was a larger helicopter," commented Lancaster. ACS sourced the nearest Mil 26 helicopter - which was stationed in Arkhangelsk, Russia - and positioned it at the nearby base.
The Sea King was stranded on a plateau at the top of a mountain. A small crew approached the helicopter via snowmobile to assess if it was safe for the Mil 26 to land, or if it would have to hover above whilst the Sea King was strapped down.
"It was a tricky load, but the careful planning that we put in really paid off and resulted in a very smooth operation that only lasted one hour in total," said Lancaster.