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Cargo movers

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Cargo hooks have been the bane of the helicopter industry since they originated in the military.


Cargo hooks are no problem when used by the military for military applications.


Not so in the civilian world.


Without going into the history and or types of hooks, lets look at something else.


The smaller 4-5 pax helicopters when supporting the average drill camp and or survey camp is usually used to move the camp as required. Most of the time the camp manager will ask to use the cargo nets as it would take up to much flying time to try and pack everything internally.

When a load of drill pipe or even the drill itself is dropped, it''s usally in the muskeg or whatever and easy to recover. The camp manager has loaded a valuable piece of survey equipment in the net, the net is dropped and destroys the equipment. The equipment can''t be repaired as it is a one off. The project is cancelled and the customer is seeking his start up costs which are substantial as he states that the carrier was responsible to move his equipment safely.


Back in the days prior to de-regulation this item was covered in the tariff that was posted with the government.


Since de-regulation (1987) those rates and regulations are not applicable unless they are included in a contract signed by both parties.


Should a cargo slung load be dropped by the carrier, the carrier is responsible for the (liable) load unless he has received a signed waiver from the charterer.


The court would recognize the helicopter operator as being the proffesional mover of equipment in that fashion and hold him liable.


The major problem with all this, is the industry itself, always somebody else to blame, finger problem, equipment problem.


Get with it, get hook insurance, include the cost in the rates, make it mandatory to have hook insurance if a hook is attached to the helicopter.


There has to be a method of overcoming the finger problems.

The insurance companies can look after the maufacturers of faulty cargo hooks.


If the customer doesn''t wish to pay the additional cost for a cargo hook, remove it.


As pilots it usually comes down to you being responsible for the load you are slinging. To protect yourself

have hook insurance or a waiver.

Remember a waiver does not cover negligence or stupidity on your part. Once a load is picked up and moves forward in flight, you are responsible.


Aerial construction comes under the same conditions.


For your information the cranes used on highrise construction carry a minimum of 10M insurance.


And that''s all I''ve got to say about that.


P.S. Do not expect the HAC operators to do anything about this as the problem is always blamed on the pilot or hook assy.


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Blackmac.P.S. Dont expect HAC operaters to do anything about this.WELL PARDON ME, Im a HAC operator and we have had underslung cargo insurance for three years now.7.gif

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i seem to remember it being a simple phone call to my base or on the HF to insure a load if it was expensive enough to warrant it. this goes back a few years so i'm not sure if things have changed..............


personally, when bucketing (212/205), i leave the cargo hook unarmed. the one time i needed to jettison it, it came off manually quite nicely. when you have to, you CAN kick the manual release fast and hard......


my 10 pesos worth..........










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Story time:

In this scenario I am the customer. I have a lot of equipment I want to move by helicopter to another location, no roads.


I call up a few companies to give me a quote. I am requesting a flat rate for the complete move.


As the helicopter company is the professional as to the transportation of said goods, I defer to them. Not knowing the internal capcity of the various helicopters, I leave the loading up to the so-called professional movers.


One fairly large electronic unit does not fit inside the helicopter and the professional's elect to sling it.


Of course the item valued at over 3M is dropped. The operator was negligent in informing me that in accordance with his published tariff avaliabe at his office, I was only covered for 10 cents a pound.


In my purchase order the only thing I requested was movement of equipment at a flat rate. The operator responded with flat rate for the movement of X lbs. of equipment.


Who in your mind is responsible for the loss of 3M dollars of equipment.




And that's all I have to say about that.


P.S:This of course only applies to the companies it offends.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Good point, Blackie.


Firstly, as Blackmac says, unless you have a signed contract (which can be your flight ticket, provided your baggage and cargo liability limitations are included thereon) limiting your responsibility, you'll pay in the even of a loss.


Almost any aviation insurance broker can get you a quote on a one-time $$$$ load. You'll find prices high, and not as competitive as they should be, but that's just a reflection of today's insurance market.


A competent operator will see that he papers his liability for baggage and cargo with either the flight ticket or a charter agreement, has enough coverage in his basic policy, and has a broker that can get him individual load coverage for the big $$$ ones. 10.gif

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Like Blackie's story, I was with a company in Nigeria many moons ago. The AL2 went U/S offshore (on floats) and was prep'd for a lift back home under a Puma.


Puma arrived, driven by the (French) company Chief Pilot. After hook on, the departure was as if nothing was below, and by 500 ft the AL2 was formating with the Puma. When it was jettisoned, the CP didn't even turn around to watch the splash, just turned left for Port Harcourt.


Eventually the insurance agent arrived in The Hague, and went through the details of the claim against the lost airframe. Strangely, he wanted confirmation of the aircraft weight when it was lifted.


As you can guess, a cheque for 1000kg x $5 was handed over to a flabbergasted accountant; sling load rates 9.gif

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On this topic what happens in the following scenario.


Pilot A arrives at a job site and looks over a load that has been prepared for him. Cant see underneath it but takes the ground crews word that all is OK with it.


Now when flying from A to B, over a remote area which just happens to have a fishing lodge somewhere between the trees, for some reason the cargo net gives way and the load goes through the roof of the lodge and destroys it and injures people in there.


Now does the blame lie entirely with the pilot or the customer who got the load ready and assured the pilot it was Ok. Now remember said pilot couldnt inspect under the load but customer said it was A OK.


Heli Ops

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Heli-Ops: The original reason for starting the thread was to get comments on who is actually responsible for external loads.


The industry is supposed to be proffesional and be the experts on moving loads, wether internally or externally.


The pilot excepted the load as is, but actually could of had it repacked.


As I stated previously there is no excuse for dropping (on the pilots part) a load unless it can be a proven malfunction of the cargo system.


Lets cut-out the "I can do it" syndrome, stop and think about it first and go from there.


Remeber the well experienced pilot who was slinging mud out to a drill site in a wooden box, the mud moved to the rear part of the box, caused by centrifugal force, caused by an increase in air speed. The added force caused the box to come apart in flight and go into the tail section, the a/c landed safely.


All kinds of experts were around and this was an accepted practice. This pilot was the first to actually try a higher air speed in the slinging proccess.


In retrospect you did not have to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out.


:up: :shock: :down:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Heli-ops the PIC is responsible for anything that is carried by the A/C. As Blackie said, the PIC could have asked them to repack the load to ensure that it would be safe.


As for insurance, etc. due dilligence requires that whoever quotes the job should advise the client on what will be paid in the event of any problems. If the only insurance pays $0.10 for every pould/kg/drill-o-gram :D then that should be quoted in writing to the client. If additional insurance is available, then the client should be informed and asked if it is required. If it isn't, then that refusal of coverage should be noted on the contract (flight ticket acts as a contract). Just like when you rent a car/truck, they inundate you with all the insurance options, and you have to initial/sign any that you want, and all you refuse. If we do the same, then there will be fewer problems.



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