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The “Polarstern” research vessel has been underway in the Arctic and Antarctic for more than 35 years. DRF Luftrettung’s expertise is there on board during its expeditions through the polar seas; since 2016, the helicopters which accompany every trip are serviced by DRF Luftrettung’s mechanics. The helicopter operators were impressed by DRF Luftrettung’s comprehensive air rescue know-how and its technical service center with its own development department.
The helicopters are used for reconnaissance missions across the ice, observing wildlife, collecting supplies and transporting personnel. The “Polarstern” therefore has a landing platform and a hangar for machine maintenance. The ship is operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven. The research ice breaker recently supplied the Neumayer Station in the Antarctic, as from the fall it will be on a major mission in the Arctic. The crew relies on reliable technology and equipment on the ship at temperatures of as low as -50 C during their expeditions. Malfunctions in this hostile environment mean a high risk for the researchers and their mission. Ongoing maintenance of all technical components is essential.
Helicopter operator HeliService was therefore on the lookout for a reliable partner, who could ensure this maintenance with the required high level of quality. In doing so, the company also contacted DRF Luftrettung. It is approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and is therefore in a position to implement technical innovations like helicopter modifications, within its development department, from one provider. This service was an important argument for the client regarding the business partnership. The level of precision and reliability with which the aircraft mechanics and avionic specialists carry out their work also met the desired requirements.