The Brazilian Navy: The Ecureuil in Antarctica

Since 1984, the Brazilian Navy has used the Ecureuil AS350/355 in the Brazilian Antarctic Program (PROANTAR): 25 years at the service of environmental protection.


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From October to April, the Brazilian Navy uses two AS355 Ecureuils to transport cargo, loads, equipment and personnel from the ship to the research fields.


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Launched by the Brazilian Government in 1982, PROANTAR relies on the Ecureuil AS350 to carry out scientific missions in the Antarctic continent. The aim of the program is to ensure that the Protocol of Madrid related to the protection of the flora and fauna of the region is upheld through the evaluation of the impact of human activities on this delicate ecosystem.
“The navy is responsible for mission logistics, operational support and maintenance of the Brazilian Antarctic Station “Comandante Ferraz”, including its laboratories and shelters,” explains Mario Jorge Menezes Cardoso, Commander of Helicopter Squadron HU-1 of the Brazilian Navy. “We have two AS355 helicopters aboard ‘Ary Rongel’, the Brazilian Navy’s ship, for 6 months a year (October-April). These helicopters are responsible for transporting goods, loads, equipment and personnel from the ship to the research fields. They also perform air medical evacuation, recognition and aerial observation, photographic rising of areas, search and rescue (SAR) missions as well as other types of missions, if needed.”
The crew is composed of four pilots and six mechanics. Together with the ship’s crew, composed of 70 crewmembers, they take part in scientific missions. During 2007-2008 operations, the Navy’s two Ecureuil AS355s accumulated approximately 240 flight hours with the aim of protecting the environment.
“We have been using Ecureuil AS350/355s in this kind of mission for the last 25 years. The reasons we choose this aircraft were its versatility, mobility and good performance in polar weather,” added Commander Cardoso. “PROANTAR has been a great experience: overflying Antarctica is breathtaking! Icebergs, sunshine, penguins… everything is new and fascinating. It has been a great pleasure to be a part of this important program and to contribute to Brazil’s and the world’s future by working hard in Antarctica.”



ARTICLE: BELEN MORANT


240
 

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The number of flighthours clocked up bythe Brazilian Navyin 2007-2008 withtwo Ecureuil AS355sfor environmentalprotection missions.