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Airbus Helicopters H125/AS350

BAN's World Gazetteer

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Heli-Team juggles power line work with local projects
It goes without saying, but power line work can be challenging in the dark. However, Norway's Heli-Team finds its AS350 fleet highly effective in the Arctic and is looking to maintain operations as diverse as possible.
Read this story in our May 2018 printed issue.

Norwegian operator Heli-Team is celebrating 30 years since its formation. The company has consistently operated Airbus Helicopters rotorcraft in that time. "We have the same customers as we started with, so we have a special history," sales and marketing consultant Helene Valstad tells EBAN. "We have made sure that we keep the right aircraft type and maintain correct capacity with loads, because approximately 80 per cent of what we are doing is sling work.

"Right now we are running four projects at four sites with the biggest power line company in Norway, working on the main line that goes through the whole of the country. We started off working on wooden pylons using one helicopter, and now we have six Airbus and one Bell 205."

She says that Airbus rotorcraft have great build quality and reasonable maintenance costs. "Five passenger seats suits the type of customer we have, and because we operate over a large area in an Arctic environment we need an aircraft that is well-suited to the work. There are great distances between the airports up here, and we have a long winter from November to March; it is almost dark the whole day and it is often very snowy and cold. It can even go to minus 30 degrees."

The current projects will run for two to four years. In addition, Heli-Team serves the local market, including private individuals building cabins up in the mountains. "We keep an eye on the local market because we know that the power line contracts will not last forever," Valstad explains.

The onset of drones is a slight concern: "The drone will undoubtedly play an important role in the future, but how quickly and how big a role remains to be seen. Sling load work will still need to be carried out by helicopters but I think the drones will be used more for observational jobs," Valstad says.

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