- Hee Hee I'm Flying
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- Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:49 pm
- Location: Everywhere
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- Fife Thousand feet
- Posts: 5908
- Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2006 2:24 pm
- Closest Airfield: Brakpan Benoni FABB
- Location: Waterkloof
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Long time Cygnet builder
The object is to fly, it does not matter what the object is!
- Six Tousand
- Posts: 6536
- Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:04 pm
- Closest Airfield: Pyramid Air Park
- Location: Pyramid Air Park-Barberton
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"When once you have tasted flight,
you will forever walk the earth
with your eyes turned skywards."
― Leonardo da Vinci
- Wanna Fly
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- Closest Airfield: FABB
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After considering several rescue strategies, the most feasible rescue plan involved a rescuer, attached to the cable, being guided down the zip line down to the aircraft. The rescuer’s position was controlled from the top station of the zip line via several long ropes which were had to be joined to cover the significant distance. As there was no possibility to inspect the situation close-up and plan the extraction of the aircraft’s occupants in detail prior to committing to the cable, several bags of equipment (including cables to secure the wreck) as well as more than two hundred meters of rope were taken along by a rescuer as backup.
The most critical part of the rescue involved a careful and calculated transfer of the occupants from the aircraft seats (where they were secured in the interim via their seatbelts) to rescue harnesses and delicate repositioning until they were hanging on the cable, free from the aircraft fuselage. The rescuer and the pair were then raised up the cable and away from the aircraft by some fifty meters as quickly as possible before the rescuer lowered the pair to the sloping ground below, where after the rescuer assailed to the ground. The final stage of the rescue involved the pair being hoisted into the SAPS Air Wing helicopter, but the second hoist had to be abandoned because of extremely strong gusts of wind, resulting in rescuers walking the pilot down the mountain to awaiting paramedics for a brief medical assessment. The aircraft itself was also taken down later the same day.
The rescue was complicated by the unknown and questionable purchase that aircraft had on the cable which could potentially be dislodged by the wind (which was increasing during the operation) or a change in the weight distribution of the aircraft. The significant distance that the aircraft was from the top of the cable (an uninterrupted span of approximately 550m from the top to the aircraft) also contributed to the complexity of the rescue. Despite incident happening at approximately 8:30 in the morning the pair could only be extracted from the dangling aircraft more than five hours later with the pilot and passenger’s ordeal only finishing more than an hour later.
The rescue was coordinated by the ARCC which is established in terms of Annex 12 of the Chicago Convention to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The on-scene rescue involved several organisations including a SAPS Air Wing Squirrel Helicopter, Menno Parsons with his Bell 407 helicopter, Sun City Fire Services, ER24, Netcare 911, the CAA, the Zipline operator and MSAR.