Summer in the Swiss Alps is short, and construction companies have to work fast in the mountains and valleys. Many of them come to Berne-based Heliswiss having learned that, when it comes to building structures such as ski-lift towers, the Ka-32 can deliver the accuracy and, thus, the speed of progress that they need.
Director Luzi Tischhauser told AIN that, even in the summer, unpredictable winds gusting off the mountains can affect conventional helicopters. “The Kamov is very stable. There is only slight vibration in the hover, and the pilot and crew working underneath can feel safe as they maneuver the sections into position.
“We started looking for a specialist load-lifter, with a payload of more than five tons, in 1990. We considered the SA 330J Puma but felt it handled comparatively nervously in the hover; we now tend to use that for urban projects. The Kamov, on the other hand, is very steady. When you are looking to position these towers as quickly as possible, to make the most of the good weather, this makes a difference.
“Because of the downwash, however, we normally use a line of between 250 and 350 feet.”