Blog 3 - Helicopter Ride

Blog 3 - Helicopter Ride

Written by:

Elizabeth Weidner
Graduate Student
University of New Hampshire; Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center

July 27, 2021
Lat: 59.233° N, Long: 30.619° E
19:32 UTC
Winds: North-Northeast at 28 knots
Sea State: 1.0 meters

Today, members of the Galway team had the opportunity to leave the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent for 15 minutes, but we weren’t going ashore. Instead we took to the sky in one of the two helicopters onboard. The Bell429 helicopters are a recent addition to the Louis platform and during the field testing we were able to hitch a ride up to see the ship in action.

When the helicopters aren’t carrying scientists for outings, they are most commonly used for ice reconnaissance, personnel/equipment/supply transport, and emergency situations. The CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent carries two helicopters at all times for redundancy, or aptly put by our technician Dave, “one is none”. Out in the middle of the Atlantic when things break down, you only have as much equipment as you’ve brought with you, so you better have spares.

These helicopters are new acquisitions for the Canadian Coast Guard and this was the first operational flight onboard the Louis while in transit. This gave the pilot and crew a chance to test their equipment and procedures.  

The views were spectacular from 750 meters up in the air. The Louis looked like a child’s toy, floating on water that stretched out beyond the horizon. Sometimes working in the multibeam lab, watching the data come in on the computer screens, we forget how vast the ocean is. But the view in the helicopter puts the enormity of the ocean into sharp perspective.    

Elizabeth Weidner in the helicopter with pilot Paul Mosher

Bell 429 helicopter on the Louis St. Laurent