Ten years ago I was working in Samedan, near St Moritz in Switzerland, for a helicopter company, preparing myself to work with Helimission in the future. There, I assisted with the 12-year inspection of the helicopter HB-ZHM (“Hotel Mike”), which Helimission had made available for disaster operations.
This aircraft was put into service at the end of 2008 and flown within Switzerland. When typhoon Yolanda smashed into the Philippines at the end of 2013, the helicopter was transported to Manila by a freight plane. For three months this machine was in operation, flying countless humanitarian aid missions for Helimission.
From the Philippines the machine was flown to Singapore for maintenance work, then transported by truck to Kuala Lumpur so that the maintenance could be completed in Malaysia. It was joined by a second helicopter in Malaysia, which had been serviced in Switzerland and was intended for Papua. In 2017 the “import machinery” was set in motion. Whether importing one or two helicopters, the administrative time, effort and work is practically the same. This process took more than a year to complete! About 50 separate steps are required to import a helicopter into Indonesia duty-free.
Now, ten years later, I find myself working once again on the same helicopter, but with a new registration number. Ten years ago, the machine was being used in the service of the “high society” of St Moritz, where people can afford any luxury. Today it is serving people in the jungles of Papua, some of whom are still living like in the stone age and are barely acknowledged by those living in Switzerland.
Daniel, Helicopter Mechanic