Norwegian helicopter operator Airlift is a provider of aerial work and search and rescue services in some of the world's coldest and most unforgiving climates, from Norway to Antarctica to Greenland. One member of their fleet of predominantly H125s is the world's first Super Puma ever produced, an AS332 C1, in service since 1981 and still going strong. Watch this venerable aircraft at work in this video.
Experts on ice: <br />Based in Norway, Airlift is an expert when it comes to icy conditions. In addition to aerial work, heavy lift and search and rescue services, the operator also helps investigate climate change and was even involved in a mission to Mars <br /> <br />Stretching out beneath the helicopter is a seemingly endless sheet of Arctic ice. Suddenly, a polar bear appears in the whirled up snow. The H125 helicopter from Airlift flies towards the animal. A passenger appears, aiming a rifle at the bear. A shot cracks above the noise of the rotors. The polar bear is hit but continues to run for a few more seconds before collapsing onto the ice. But the animal is not dead. It is just unconscious, shot with a tranquiliser rifle so that the scientists on board the helicopter could take blood samples and DNA probes to examine the grade of pollution in the arctic. This is just one of Airlift’s different services for scientific missions in Polar Regions – under the most extreme conditions. On a mission in the Antarctic in 2015 for example, an ice breaker with 30 scientists and the H125 on board was deliberately frozen into the ice of the Antarctic. The mission was to explore, among other things, the drift of ice and the pollution of air, water and ice. The scientists and helicopter crew spent six months on the ship. “These polar missions can be very difficult,” says Gunnar Svein Nordahl, who accompanies some of these expeditions as a technician. “But it is an important task, because the data we collect enables researchers to observe changes in the climate.” <br /> <br />Norway is known for its unforgiving climate: Violent storms, freezing temperatures, heavy rains and low visibility can quickly turn into a deadly danger. When tourists become lost in the ice or fishermen in the cold sea, help must come quickly and reliably. These are two characteristics that apply to the Super Puma AS332 from Airbus Helicopters. Airlift uses this model for search and rescue missions in the country’s challenging conditions. With this medium-size utility helicopter, the Airlift crew fights cold and ice, confirming the rotorcraft’s capabilities in even the most extreme environment. <br /> <br />Chasing James Bond <br />Not many people can claim that they have chased James Bond. The Airlift crew can. When James Bond, played by Pierce Brosnan, raced across an ice field during the filming of the Die Another Day movie, it wasn’t just the bad guy who was hotly in pursuit. Flying along behind the actors was the crew of the Norwegian helicopter operator, which provided the filming services.