Chapter 6
Helicopter Transport

The following information will help you prepare for your helicopter put-in, resupply, and pull-out.

6.1 Preparations in McMurdo

6.1a General Cargo

Before a realistic flight schedule for your field work is made, identify all your cargo and determine actual weights and cubes of all field and scientific equipment, food, fuel, and personal gear. It is important to remember that both the weights and cubes of your cargo must be considered when planning each trip. (See "Appendix A" for weight and cube information.)

The maximum number of passengers per trip is five. The maximum preferred weight including passengers and cargo per flight is 1,600 pounds (each passenger is considered to weigh 200 pounds).

The Berg Field Center (BFC) staff is trained to assist you in all aspects of preparation for deployment into the field by helicopter. A BFC staff member will be assigned to work with your group to help adjust cargo loads for each flight.

Remember to allow weights and cubes for survival bags on all flights that have passengers. A standard issue survival bag weighs 75 pounds. On camp put-in and camp move flights, camping equipment (including sleeping bags, tents, stove, fuel, and food) may be considered as survival gear on passenger flights.

6.1b Hazardous Cargo

All hazardous equipment must be packaged and flown in accordance with military regulations. A listing of common hazardous equipment is in Appendix A.

Identify any and all hazardous equipment in your field supplies, including science supplies, BFC equipment, and MEC equipment. Put it together in one pile in your cage, and give a list of these items to the BFC. The BFC staff will turn your hazardous cargo over to Science Cargo. It is the responsibility of Science Cargo to package all hazardous materials in accordance with military regulations. The BFC staff will ensure that your hazardous equipment is on your flight.

When transporting hazardous equipment from one field site to another, make sure to coordinate this with the Operations Coordinator, Helicopter. Save all hazardous shipping containers and reuse them for transporting hazardous items in the containers. Take a few gallons of "purging fuel" into the field to use for rinsing empty fuel containers before helicopter transport. Burn off excess fuel in stoves before transport, and only transport fuel in certified containers.

Do not purge stoves -- it ruins them!

Make sure to point out the hazardous equipment to the Crew Chief when he/she comes to pick you up. Hazardous equipment is stored in specific areas in the helicopter.

6.1c Flight Schedules

The Operations Coordinator, Helicopter, develops the daily flight schedule, makes daily communication with all helicopter-supported field groups, and is your point-of- contact for all resupply requests. This person is experienced in planning flight schedules and will assist you in planning a realistic schedule once you have identified, weighed, and prioritized your cargo, including hazardous equipment.

The Operations Coordinator, Helicopter, is located in the Helicopter Operations Center in Building 165.

Flight requests must be submitted three days prior to the flight.

When planning your put-in schedule, make sure you leave one person in McMurdo to accompany the last put-in flight. Put-in goes much smoother when there is a field-team member available to ensure that all of your equipment gets into the field.

6.1d Estimated Flight Times

Use the following flight-time estimates (one-way) to plan for flights:

Allen Hills 1 hour
Cape Crozier 35 minutes
Cape Bird 40 minutes
Dry Valleys 45 minutes to 1 hour
Koettlitz Glacier 30 minutes
Marble Point 30 minutes
Minna Bluff 30 minutes
Mount Erebus 30 minutes

6.2 Preparing for the Put-In

6.2a Staging Cargo

Stage put-in and resupply items in your cage. Using a resupply system for food, fuel, and consumable items will reduce the helicopter hours on your initial put-in. You must prepare an inventory of all the resupply boxes you are staging, with each box numbered in some way (e.g., Box #1, Box #2), and a list of what is in each box. Give this information to the BFC, and take this inventory with you into the field. By following this plan, it will be easy for you to pass resupply information to the Operations Coordinator, Helicopter. You simply have to ask for Box #1 in your cage. If items in a resupply box are hazardous, place them in a separate box, clearly marked "Box #1 Hazardous."

The BFC staff will ensure that hazardous boxes get to Science Cargo and are properly packaged for the resupply flight.

6.2b Two Days Prior to Your Flight

Turn in a list of all your hazardous cargo to the BFC.

6.2c The Day Prior to Your Flight

Stage your equipment at the BFC in piles according to flights (i.e., all items for the first flight in one pile, all items for the second flight in another pile, etc.). Each pile should be labeled clearly. Items that do not fit into standard containers or cartons should have all loose parts securely fastened. Individual items and their total weight should be listed on the helicopter support request. Again, these weights should be measured on a scale, not estimated.

6.2d The Day of Your Flight

Check the flight schedule early. This schedule will be on the computer and posted in the Galley, CSEC, or Chalet. Call or report to the BFC at 7:45 a.m. From then until flight time, the BFC needs to know where your group is in case of flight schedule changes. Just before your flight, the BFC will need help loading your equipment into the truck for movement to the helicopter pad.

You must be at the helicopter pad 30 minutes prior to the flight. This means personnel and all equipment must be there by that time.

6.2e Clothing for the Flight

The following items must be worn or carried with you during the flight:

Bunny boots or plastic insulated climbing boots Thermal insulated long underwear (top and bottom) Wind pants with pile pants underneath Pile jacket Parka with hood or jacket layering system Mittens or gloves with liners Bear paws (shove them in your pocket or have them close by) Hat Sunglasses

Additional Items to Pack for Day Trips

Sunscreen Water bottle Thermos with hot liquid High energy food Ear plugs

Keep in mind that there is a chance you may get stuck in the field overnight. You will be dropped off with survival bags, but you'd be wise to pack some extra food (e.g., chocolate/trail mix) and extra warm clothes.

6.2f Day Trips

If you plan to be left in the field for the day you must have at least two people, survival bags, proper clothing, and a radio.

6.3 In the Field

6.3a When You Board the Helicopter

At least one person in your group will get a headset for communication with the pilot. Do not talk to the pilot during take-off or landing.

Photography opportunities are available in flight. Talk to the pilot before the flight to make seating arrangements, etc.

Give an accurate estimate of ground time. If the helicopter is late, a Search and Rescue could be launched.

6.3b Helicopter Loading and Unloading

The Crew Chief is responsible for placing cargo inside the helicopter. You should assist the BFC Helicopter person in staging your gear next to the helicopter for loading. In the field, you must unload and move your equipment away from the helicopter before it takes off. When the rotors are running, the Crew Chief will load and unload all items over five feet long.

6.3c Radio Equipment

For put-in, you must have the following radio equipment:

Radio(s) Handsets Antennas Batteries and recharging capabilities for the duration of your stay in the field Back up radio (complete)

After the helicopter crew drops you off and before they can leave you in the field, you must establish communications with McMurdo. If you cannot establish communication, you'll be flown back to McMurdo.

6.3d Daily Communications

Every group must have daily radio contact with the Field Operation Communication Center (FOCC) in McMurdo. In cases where the radio contact with McMurdo is poor, you may relay between another field group or Scott Base. (See Chapter 8: Field Radios for more detailed information.) Each morning at 8:00 a.m.,the Operations Coordinator, Helicopter, or a contact person in the FOCC has radio communications with all helicopter-supported groups in the Dry Valleys and Ross Island. The day's flight schedule, weather, resupply, and other information is passed.

6.3e Field Resupply

All resupply requests from the field must first be passed to the Operations Coordinator, Helicopter. In camps that have phone access to McMurdo, it is tempting to call individual departments for resupply information. However, this creates a problem in our system if the information is not relayed to the Operations Coordinator, Helicopter, and the resupply is not figured into the flight schedule. Remember to first pass along all resupply information to the Operations Coordinator, Helicopter.

6.3f Schedule Changes

New flight requests and changes to schedules need to be submitted two to three days prior to the flight. You may pass written requests to the Operations Coordinator , Helicopter, via the flight crew and verbal requests over the radio. Before camp put-in, it is advisable to give the Operations Coordinator, Helicopter, a plan of your entire season from put-in to pull-out. This plan should include estimated dates for camp moves, day trips, close support, and resupply.

6.3g Retrograde from the Field

The most efficient way to retrograde material from the field is to use resupply flights, camp moves, and day-use helicopter flights to retrograde waste and extra field gear. This will eliminate the need for excessive dedicated flights for your pull-out.

During the daily radio schedule with the Operations Coordinator, Helicopter, you can pass on information concerning retrograde so it can be incorporated into the flight. Remember that the helicopters can retrograde sling loads back to McMurdo, so don't let packaging, boxes, and barrels pile up at camp... Retrograde it early!

Please refer to Chapter 14: Waste Retrograde for proper packaging and labeling of retrograde items.

6.4 Camp Pull-Out

6.4a Personnel and Cargo

If you have retrograded material and equipment throughout the season, your camp pull-out should be relatively easy. It's best to leave two team members in the field to accompany the last pull-out flight. They can ensure that all the equipment is picked up and that nothing blows away.

6.4b Pull-Out Schedule

Coordinate your pull-out schedule with the Operations Coordinator, Helicopter.

6.5 Helicopter Safety Guidelines

NEVER approach a helicopter until you receive a thumbs-up signal from the pilot or crewman.

NEVER walk near the tail rotor. Always approach from the front of the helicopter.

Carry long loads such as bamboo poles, Scott tents, or survey rods low and level to the ground.

Remain seated with seat belts fastened at all times.

Wear cranial helmets.

Do not smoke in or near the helicopter.

Assume the crash position when warned by the Crew Chief.

In the event of an emergency, remain in the aircraft until all motion has stopped.

Know the location and operation of emergency exits.

Know the location of first-aid kits.

ALWAYS obey the Crew Chief's orders.

Know the location of aircraft survival equipment.

Any movement on the Helicopter Pad must be authorized by Maintenance Control in the Helo Hangar.

6.6 Helicopter Planning Information

Planning Information for Navy Helicopters (HH-1N)
Cargo Hatch Door Size 7'8" x 4'2"
Cargo Compartment Size 7'8" x 4'2" x 7'11"
Cargo Space Size 220 cu ft
Maximum Internal Load 1,600 lb
Maximum Internal/External Load 2,000 lb
Maximum External Load 2,000 lb
Maximum Passengers 5
Normal Helicopter Flight Range
(100 NM Radius)
200 NM
Flight Range W/ Auxiliary Tank
(180 NM Radius)
360 NM
Maximum Altitude 15,000 ft

Note: Helicopters normally provide support to field parties within 150 nautical miles of McMurdo and Marble Point.

On to Section 7: LC-130 Transport.