Sub-zero maintenance

MILITARY

Ian Harding and Kevin Wills witnessed what it takes to maintain helicopters in the sub-zero temperatures of Norway’s Arctic region

At 08:30hrs, the ambient air temperature at Bardufoss Air Station in northern Norway is -10ºC (14ºF). The first of two Wildcat AH1s and a Merlin HC3A assigned to 847 and 845 Naval Air Squadrons crank up their engines for the first mission of the day. Conditions are austere. Faced with such conditions, it remains imperative that procedures between air and ground crew are coordinated precisely because of the extreme cold. While attention is focused on the aircraft’s safety and performance, spare a thought for the engineers and technicians whose duty it is to maintain aircraft serviceability in such harsh conditions. AIR International spoke with senior engineering personnel during Clockwork 2019 as they tested themselves in Arctic conditions.

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