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Helicopter Load lifting HELSO

Helicopters are usually associated with a luxury lifestyle, full of high net-worth individuals and celebrities alike and for us in the industry, to be part of a glamorous business network. But sometimes it’s not always the case, sometimes, we do get the sh*t work… literally!

We operate various flights from luxury charter, aerial filming to utility based projects and with specialist experience in load lifting our services were recommended to Kevin, waste water production manager at United Utilities who contacted our operations manager Andy, to see if we were able to help with an urgent task.

The company needed to move a 580kg broken sewage pump but the road to the Waste Water Treatment Works runs along side the Manchester Ship Canal and had partly collapsed and under repair. Meaning it was unsafe and unviable for vehicles to travel down, especially the heavy Hiab truck that would usually be deployed on such a task.

The broken sewage pump meant a build up of waste water was not being treated or flowing freely through the treatment works based in Davyhulme. The works is one of the biggest waste water treatment works in the UK. Draining the entire western side of Manchester and with more than 30,000 litres of flowing water usually treated per second. Therefore urgent action needed to be taken to keep the site functioning to standard practice and to appease the Environment Agency. The only remaining option was to see if they could replace the parts by bringing them in by air.

After a brief conversation a meeting was organised with Kevin and his team. Together the task was discussed in more detail, including assessing the sites and surrounding areas that could be used to fly in and out of for safety before the ops team took the information away to finalise safety reports.

One of our pilots James Holland, was assigned to the project. James has a military background and has been assigned to various load lifting contracts. Final calculations of the load, safety and brief were conducted and the flight was scheduled.

The pump and mechanism were broken into two separate parts so we conducted two shuttles to lift the broken infrastructure out of the site and one load to take the new temporary replacement in. James also lifted a skip to help with the waste build up.

The afternoon on task went seamlessly and both parties were happy as pigs in sh*t. Except for Andy and Abi who got the sh*t end of the stick and had to stand beneath the hovering aircraft to hook the loads onto the carouse. All jokes aside, the team thoroughly enjoyed the unusual task and the whole waste water service team from United Utilities were a pleasure to work with.