Aerial route best way to remove logs

By John Maslin

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A helicopter logging trial on the Whanganui River Rd this week is a clear signal that aerial logging is likely to become increasingly popular across the Whanganui district.

The heli-logging took place on a steep bluff overlooking the Whanganui River Rd, about 4km north of Parikino.

Feilding-based company, Forest Owners Marketing Services (FOMS), oversaw the operation and director Marcus Musson said it was a logging method expected to be used more often in the district.

"We're using this job as a trial really. It's an inaccessible spot where conventional logging recovery methods just don't work and it becomes hugely expensive," Mr Musson said.

He said FOMS had been working with the Australian-based helicopter company for the last few years.

The Iroquois has been specially strengthened for heavy lifting work. It can shift between 300 and 400 tonne of logs a day lifting nearly 2 tonne at a time. It was flown over from Australia, stopping at Norfolk Island to refuel.

"We're very confident with the trial and will be looking to use helicopters to bring logs out of other remote areas where access is a major problem.

Mr Musson said some forestry blocks around the Whanganui district had been planted in very remote terrain and putting roads in as well as getting the necessary consents made conventional extraction methods uneconomic.

"After the Parikino job the chopper will be doing some work in the Waiouru area and then will be working above Aramoho before doing some work around Levin," he said.

The logs above the River Rd about were being removed for another reason too. They were planted on a very steep hillside bluff above the road and once removed contractors will be able to widen the road.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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