Helicopter trials in preparation for the mouse eradication

HJM – Amuri Helicopters. Photo by F.Cox

HJM – Amuri Helicopters. Photo by F.Cox

HMD - Southern Lakes. Photo by F. Cox

HMD – Southern Lakes. Photo by F. Cox

As part of the Antipodes Mouse Eradication project (the Million Dollar Mouse Project) we needed to carry out  some Vessel and Helicopter Trials prior to the departure in 6 weeks.

A practice of the helicopter and ship operations took place outside of PrimePort in Timaru on 24th and 25th of March, to practice and prove the movements of helicopters aboard. The ship recently had markings painted on its deck to provide guidance to the pilots for takeoff and landings. The system of craning the helicopters in and out of the hold was practiced as well as landing and taking off from the ships hatch covers while at sea.

The movement and unpacking of bait transport pods as well as bucket loading and calibrating was carried out at Levels Raceway Timaru on the 22nd March. The buckets were calibrated with a non-toxic version of the cereal bait to measure the distance bait is thrown from the spinner mechanism on the bucket and work out what “apertures” are needed to achieve the desired application rate (kg/ha). Flat metal discs with a different sized hole through the middle “apertures” can be interchanged in the bucket to adjust the rate of bait flow and therefore the application rate.  The spread of bait for each bucket during a helicopter pass can be determined and flight lines optimised so bait is not wasted and no gaps exist in coverage.

The operations went well.

Click on the images to see the video’s:

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