Now Sea Pilots Fly

Helicopters could be used to drop pilots into ships waiting to go through the Heads.

The helicopters would either land on the ships deck or hover above while the pilot was winched down into the ship.

But this all depends on a report which is expected to go to the State Marine Board in March.

The Port Phillip Sea Pilots’ Association is in the last stage of experimenting with the helicopters.

The associations chairman, Capt, B. Lewis, said today that more than 30 landings had been made since the experiment started two months ago.

Capt, Lewis, 42, said the landing were on container ships, roll-on roll-off ships, bulk carriers and gas tankers.

At present the association uses its 1300 ton cutter Wyuna and two launches, Hawke II and Alvina, to transport pilots.

Capt, Lewis said the association hoped to start landing the helicopters at night.

He said the idea began two years ago when the State Marine Board asked the pilot service to investigate alternative methods of transporting pilots to waiting ships.

“Captain. K. Elford and I were sent on a seven-week world study tour, ” he said.

“In Rotterdam, we were taken in a chopper which landed one of their pilots into a 325,000 ton tanker in the North Sea.

“They have proved a great success over there, and it could be the same story here. “We would also like to carry out a cost survey”.

“We would like to know which is the cheapest and most efficient service”

Captain Brian Lewis, chairman of the Port Phillip and Wesrternport Sea Pilots, farewells sea pilot, Captain Peter Phoenix on the deck of the Echuca