The versatility of a helicopter comes into its own when goods need to be positioned in areas where surface accessibility presents a challenge. It is not uncommon for helicopters, suitably equipped with a cargo hook, to sling loads externally for operational convenience and safety reasons.
BAC has gained extensive experience in external load operations, particularly in executing mining support contracts in remote African locations.
To ensure the highest standards of safety, external load operations undertaken by BAC are carefully managed in accordance with our internal Safety Management System and Quality Control System. Slinging an external load is a highly specialised task necessitating comprehensive risk assessment and mitigation measures to be adhered to be all crew members involved in the operation. BAC pilots work according to strict standard operating procedures at all times.
Well-briefed ground crew located at both the pick-up and drop-off points is crucial to the safe execution of an external load operation and we ensure that each member of the team has an in-depth understanding of:
- Marshalling signals in order to communicate with the pilot and other crew members in a noisy environment
- The hook and its release mechanism
- The performance and manoeuvring capability of the helicopter within the operating area
- The effect of the wind and weather conditions on the helicopter and load
For this reason, at BAC we ensure a high standard of training and re-current training is maintained for all pilots and crew members. In addition, our lifting equipment is thoroughly inspected and re-certified as may be required to ensure its suitability and reliability for the task at hand.