It is just a little bird, the R66 helicopter. It only weighs 1,270 pounds. So how could it possibly carry 10,000 pounds of cargo plus 14 passengers in one day?
In November 2019, the R66 in Mindanao, Philippines, did just that. As pilot Brian Pruett was teaching pilot Brian Schaadt advanced techniques for slinging loads beneath the R66, they made it practical by hauling five tons of supplies to help construct a high school building in the Banwaon tribe.
“The alternative was for the Banwaon people to bring all of this on motorcycles on a slippery, muddy road that requires pushing the bikes about as much as riding them,” wrote Brian Pruett. The investment of time and effort would have been staggering. And though they can pile a preposterous amount on one bike, it still would have taken an enormous amount of
energy to move 10,000 pounds safely, especially since many of the building supplies were long and unwieldy.
Though the sling loads transported materials to build a high school, Brian added this perspective: “This was a blessing to the Banwaon indigenous church.”
Why? Because the believers themselves are spearheading the school projects, in the hopes that their children can get an education right in their home village.
The kids are too young and impressionable to move to the city where they would face exploitation and temptations they are not prepared to handle. The parents also don’t want their kids to lose sight of the Christian way of life that has so influenced the Banwaon villages.
To prepare for the sling loads, trucks and other vehicles brought the building materials to a designated spot. A ground crew, trained by the pilots, organized the cargo into suitable loads and weighed it.
“Then we trained them to rig the loads in nets,” said Brian.
When the loads were all ready, he cranked up the R66. “Once we started flying, we kept the helicopter running until everything was moved,” he said.
That included 26 landings and 12 refuelings!
“The whole project was better than we’d hoped!” said Brian. “The weather was perfect, the helicopter and equipment functioned flawlessly, we had a great ground crew, and supplies were delivered when we needed them to be. Thanks for your prayers!”
It took a team to accomplish this project. Many people invested time, skill and energy to make it happen. And that team includes you who support Ethnos360 Aviation and stand behind all of our personnel. Thank