The Dusi Canoe Marathon that takes place each year in February is one of the highlights of the BAC calendar. This year was no exception and the BAC team performed like clockwork to ensure four helicopters, each with their independent role to play, were fueled, configured, and positioned for duty on time, every time, over the three day event.
The flying for this event is always challenging in that the Dusi and Umgeni valleys are thick with wires and electrical cables; the temperature is mainly in the upper 30s and the steep terrain produces strong thermals, turbulence and valley winds from mid morning on. The helicopters are required to fly the aerial filming crew low level throughout the race (Tremayne Thompson); radio media coverage following the live action (Lee Pedlar); race security and deployment of rescue divers and marshals at key danger points (Lucy Erasmus); VIP transport along the route (Dave O’Sullivan). Day Three had a fifth helicopter join to fly prizewinners to a race-side picnic site and to the finish at Blue Lagoon (Brad Lake and Dave O’Sullivan).
From the helicopter side, the event was smooth and practiced. Communication between the crew was superb and the event was both efficient and incident free.
Thanks to the ground support crew, Borris, Willie and Mo, who were slick and professional in every way.