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Merlin Mk3 USL at the Norwegian Trust Association Log Cabin
Merlin Mk3 with Underslung Load (USL)


Published: 02 Mar 2015

JOINT Helicopter Command personnel from the Royal Navy and the Army Air Corps have been putting into practice skills learnt during Arctic flying training as they assisted the Norwegian Trust Association resupply a remote log cabin in Northern Norway.


Flying the Navy Merlin Mk3 and the Army Air Corps Lynx Mk7 helicopters, the British aviators flew from their Arctic base at the Royal Norwegian Air Force base Bardufoss. Collecting approximately 6 tons of logs from Overas, they delivered the logs 30 kilometres high into the mountains to a log cabin owned by the non profit making Norwegian Trust at the picturesque Lappjord.


Mr Bernhard Eilertsen, Warden for the Norwegian Trust Association said,


“The British military based at Bardufoss have been assisting us with the resupply for over ten years now and we are always grateful for their help” he added “It would take Ski-Doo snowmobiles seven days to resupply the remote location so the offer of help by helicopter is always a labour saving welcome”.


Major Jon Parry who is the second in command at 846 NAS said,


“The training gained at Bardufoss is second to none for providing extremely challenging conditions in an unfamiliar environment for aircrew, engineers and logisticians alike. That said, the CHF have been deploying to this area for over forty years and the opportunity for us to contribute something back to our Norwegian hosts is very satisfying. We hope to be invited back for many years to come as the training value gained here aligns very well with our primary customers at home, 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines who have been deployed in the area this winter as well”.


There is no secret art to operating successfully in Arctic conditions – it is a matter of careful training and the resupply tasking presented the perfect opportunity for the pilots and aircrewmen to prove vital skills learnt so far during their annual winter training detachment. Both Merlin and Lynx helicopters of 846 NAS and 659 AAC dropped off under slung loads of logs into deep snow. This produces a highly disorientating ‘whiteout’ as the snow billows up into the rotors and is considered a skill commanding some of the highest technical merit in aviation. 


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