Recently, Wayne and I went to the head of Powell Lake for a weekend of quad riding with our friends Dave and Marg. The first day we visited the helipad for heli-logging operations.
|VIH Kamov Ka-32 at the helipad at the Head of Powell Lake.|
We were surprised to see a large helicopter parked in the middle and two travel trailers nearby. One of the chopper mechanics came out and told us about their current operations.
|Getting a personal tour.|
VIH Aviation Group was contracted to extract logs in areas inaccessible by conventional logging equipment. Some of their extractions were "standing stem" where fallers on the ground cut part way through the trunks of high quality trees (primarily for phone and power poles) and stabilize them with wedges to keep them upright.
|Twin counter-rotating rotors for heavy lifting.|
Then the powerful helicopter grabs the tree with a grapple, breaks it loose, and hauls it away to a road where it can be loaded on a truck.
|Grapple used to grab and haul tree-sized logs.|
In the case of Powell Lake, the trees go to the to log sort for inspection, are skidded into the lake, and towed to Powell River in a log boom.
|Logs going into a boom at the Head.|
Here's the same VIH Kamov Ka-32 in action at a different logging site doing a standing stem extraction. This YouTube video was produced by Adam Holmes.
That evening, the two mechanics came down to the dock where we were camping and tried their luck fishing. Dave gave them worms to use and they caught a nice sized trout. They were getting pretty tired of Kraft Dinner, so were very appreciative. As a thank you, they invited us back the next day for a personal tour.
|Cockpit windows give a full range of view.|
Wayne was excited to get into the cockpit of the heavy duty Russian-made helicopter to see the instruments and controls. Rotor craft have similarities to airplanes like our Piper Arrow, but the flight controls are way different.
|Wayne checking out the co-pilot's seat.|
I'm sure he could visualize lifting off, but grabbing a massive tree must have been way too scary to imagine. -- Margy