Starting from the autumn the German research icebreaker “Polarstern” will set out on the largest arctic expedition to date on behalf of the renowned Alfred-Wegener-Institute. For a whole year the icebreaker will drift through the northern Polar Sea. Also on board, are the pilots and technicians and two helicopters from Heli Service International GmbH. Among other things they ensure the safe transfer of the scientists to the various research stations.
To prepare the helicopters for the extreme weather conditions, the Emden based air transportation company cooperated with the DRF Air Rescue at Baden-Airpark in Rheinmünster near Baden-Baden. There they have decades of experience in converting helicopters.
However an aircraft conversion for use in perpetual ice is also new territory for them. To ensure that the functionality of the equipment is guaranteed the helicopters we disassembled into their individual components and then put back together again.
Two of the aircraft modified by DRF Air Rescue for use on the Polarstern have been handed over to Heli Service International GmbH. The last of the aircraft required is currently still in the DRF hangar. This machine is an ex police helicopter, that needs the modifications for the arctic expedition and additionally avionic and rescue equipment must be installed.
Here you can see an article from Southwest-German-Radio about the conversion of the helis by the DRF:
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