With its year-round polar expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic, the Alfred Wegener Institute collects important insights into climate protection, the state of the oceans and the preservation of endangered species. In addition to the RV Polarstern icebreaker, two HeliService helicopters of the type Airbus Helicopters MBB-BK117 are the most important items of equipment in the study of climate, marine biology and marine geology.
The two airbus helicopters are specially equipped for research flights under extreme conditions. The HeliService pilots deployed on the RV Polarstern also undergo special training that prepares them for all eventualities in extreme cold and extreme weather.
The operations of the two HeliService helicopters are diverse and range from passenger and freight transports to geographical surveying flights and flights for image captures and wildlife census. In the summer months, three to five expeditions take place in the Arctic; in the winter months – i.e. in the southern summer – about four expeditions in the Antarctic.
Sebastiaan Verhofstad, Helicopter Hoist Operator