A good ground crew is essential to flexible and efficient helicopter operations.
Surely we only need a pilot and helicopter!
Well, no! Wings’ ground staff prepare loads so that the helicopter moves them efficiently. And they ensure the right quality fuel is ready, when and where needed. They also attend key planning meetings whilst the helicopter is flying, so things can be made ready for the next day.
Also it’s the ground crew that arranges food, accommodation and other support and so they really do make the aid operation run flexibly and smoothly. We call them ground coordinators, have a look!
No, we think a good ground crew is essential
So we deployed an experienced disaster logistician in 2007. Mark Mitchell was ours. He had served with CAFOD (the Catholic Aid Agency) and others. Here is Wings’ disaster response logistician at work ensuring a clean pick up for an under slung load. This was part of our disaster response to the floods on the Zambezi River in Mozambique in February 2007.
Under-slung loads are a great way of delivering cargo aid, because the loads can be prepared in advance and if the distance to fly is short, then you can do lots of drops quickly.
But handling those loads requires skill and a good eye for safety, especially in high winds. You do need to get the nets and strops back though!
Mark and his wife went on to work for and with us in establishing our first foreign HQ, in Maputo capital of Mozambique – see what they did here.
Please think about if you will support us by helping to fund our skilled ground crew. Thank you.