Hold the Line

Last September the Fallschirmjägerregiment 31 of the Bundeswehr held a week-long exercise on and near the small airfield of Karlshöfen, which is north of Bremen. During one of the days, a Super Lynx of Marinefliegergeschwader 5 joined the action in order to exercise sling operations with the Super Lynx.

The Germany Navy operates a fleet of 24 Super Lynx Mk.88a helicopters

Purpose of the exercise on that particular day was to practice sling load operations between the army’s ground team and the navy’s helicopter crew. In order to do so, a Super Lynx traveled the short distance from Nordholz Naval Air Station to Karlshöfen airport.

Ground crews wait as the Super Lynx approaches the pickup points

After arrival at Karlshöfen, a short briefing was held with all participants and the underslung cable was attached to the cargo hook of the Super Lynx. Meanwhile, three pallets with “cargo” were positioned next to the runway.

The ground crew stands prepared as the Super Lynx approaches them

When everything was prepared, the helicopter crew took off and flew towards the first pallet. Over there the helicopter descended to about 5 meters so that the static line reached the ground riggers. Before any further action could be taken, first the riggers had to pick the line with a hook. This hook was grounded into the earth in order to discharge static electricity from the helicopter. Once this was the case, the pallet was hooked onto the cable and the helicopter hoisted it into the air.

The cargo is hooked onto the helicopter’s sling

The helicopter then flew a circuit with the 400 kilo cargo attached. The cargo was then lowered onto the ground and after grounding the helicopter again, the soldiers could unhook the cargo from the sling. All this was done directly underneath the helicopter, with the strong downwash of the rotorblades blowing at you.

After a circuit around the airfield, the cargo is dropped off again

This exercise was repeated at all three pickuppoints for about an hour, after which it was time to take the sling cable abooard again and to proceed back to Nordholz.

The days of the Super Lynx are numbered with the German Navy, as their successor – the NH.90 – is starting to enter service.

Naturally this could only be done after the team from MFG 5 made a nice flyby at the airfield.

The video below gives an impression how close the helicopter came during the exercise

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