JOHN RUDLING knew he was in trouble when the engine of his Robinson R22 helicopter spluttered and lost power just five feet into the hover – not because he was making an unscheduled touchdown, but rather because of where he was.
The aircraft is operated by G4 Helicopters, at Margate Airport, and, since the loss of the company’s R44 earlier this year, it was the only means of keeping the students busy. There was another problem. The R22 was on a verge near a very deserted beach on the rugged Transkei coast – not famous for its roads or communications.
Some idea of the work and materials which were required to get the damaged R22 from its crash site on to the back of the truck for transportation to the nearest road.