The Grytviken Air Force - The two helicopters were dismantled at Grytviken and crammed into shipping containers and sent to the UK for servicing at the workshops of Police Aviation Services in Staverton.
The two BOLKOW-105 helicopters, used for aerial baiting in Phase 1 of the South Georgia Heritage Trust Habitat Restoration project to remove introduced rodents from South Georgia. They are being brought back into flying condition by the South Georgia Heritage Trust for the start of Phase 2 in 2013, Logistic and operational requirements for the aerial baiting work to the north end of South Georgia require another aircraft, so they will be accompanied by a third helicopter which is currently being purchased. Four pilots and two helicopter engineers form part of the Habitat Restoration team travelling to South Georgia in February, ready to start Phase 2 baiting at the beginning of March.
The most experience in the sort of flying required to aerially bait in South Georgia is found in New Zealand, so it is no surprise that of the four pilots three are Kiwis and these three will concentrate on the baiting work. Four pilots are needed to ensure that any good weather can be used for baiting without pilot fatigue, and to cover in the event of illness. The three helicopters are expected to fly at least 650 hours between them in the coming season. So in four months the aircraft will fly the equivalent of what a UK air ambulance flies in a year. The engineers will be working in the field at the forward operating bases most of the time, though the shed in the whaling station at Grytviken will be used as a helicopter workshop and garage once again.