Designed as a commuter helicopter by Frank Robinson, the R22 has been in roles far beyond this idea.This pocket rocket punches well above its weight! Buckle your seatbelts and experience the magic of the R22 from the Southern Alps of New Zealand to the Outback of Australia. Review John DeLury The Robinson R22 is better known to outdoors people as the Robbie. Many hunters first encountered it in when times were tough for the turbine driven helicopters involved in venison recovery. When the deer price dropped orators looked round for amore economical alternative. For many it was the Robbie. This machine was designed to carry two occupants and was primarily a commuter aircraft to the American market. The designer, Frank Robinson never reckoned on Kiwi ingenuity and R22 helicopter was soon put to work undertaking duties never intended by Robinson. There were a number of crashes, many of them fatal until pilots came to terms with this unstable machine which was lacking in horsepower for the tasks pilots asked of it. This video explores many of the wide range of uses this machine has been put to in New Zealand and Australia. Early pioneers in R22 deer recovery such as Bruce Harvey and Doug Maxwell were using these machines over 20 years ago. Interestingly enough after Harvey fitted a cargo hook he tested the lifting capability with coils of good old #8 wire. The Kiwis quickly adapted the machines to fire net guns. Others fitted spraying gear but my favourite use was knocking over rabbits in Central Otago. I'll bet no one can watch footage of shooting bunnies from a helicopter without thinking like I did - I'd pay money myself to be able to do that. While it looked great fun the operators take the business very seriously, getting the hard ones in areas other control measures don't kill. Killing rabbits is just one example to the way this video lets you get right inside the machine. While some hunters may not like it, helicopters have been a vital part of the Tahr management program. To see skilled operators doing the job in this machine seems surreal. It gives a wonderful insight of Tahr habitat on some incredibly fine and clear days. Where are those days when I'm hunting. I've enjoyed one passenger flight in a Robbie on a good day. The other was in adverse conditions when I thought the tail of the machine was going to be blown round in front of it's nose by the wind. I was not happy but experiences like that make you realise the skill of the pilots who put this little machine through it's paces in the spectacular mountain scenery of the Southern Alps. It is enlightening to see this little machine going about its business. The producers have also captured some great footage of the Robbie taking deer off the tops. Have a look at the fields of lush snow tussocks swirling under the rotor wash. Not only have the producers captured this unique little workhorse but they have also captured a permanent record of a number backcounry activities rarely seen by most people. From using a helicopter to muster both deer and cattle, Weed spraying, gathering sphagnum moss, lifting posts to lifting out Pink pine stumps from remote areas on the West Coast. There is huge amount information contained on this video. You will need to watch it several times to take it all in. This is another great video from South Coast Productions. Well worth the money.
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