Cone Harvesting by Helicopter? Go Figure!

June 16, 2016 | Author: Evangela Rodgers

I’ve been around the commercial helicopter business for quite a few years now and I thought I’d heard of just about every kind of helicopter mission – from transporting executives to fighting forest fires to flying emergency patients to the hospital.

But I was surprised recently to learn that helicopters are being used by U.S. and Canadian forestry services to harvest pine cones. That’s a new one on me!

Forestry officials have discovered that using helicopters to collect pine cones for their planting and reforesting programs is extremely efficient. I won’t bore you with the details (there are some terrific videos on YouTube), but essentially helicopters use a mechanized aerial cone rake to harvest the cones from the tops of healthy conifer trees.

The process leaves the trees unharmed and yields considerably more cones in less time and at a lower cost than manual harvesting techniques. In addition, because they’re flying above the forest, pilots can choose the tallest, most robust trees in even the most remote parts of the forest. This gives forestry officials the best seeds to use in their reforesting programs and helps to sustain this vital (and beautiful!) natural resource for coming generations.

Cone harvesting and aerial seeding are among several missions that are the bread and butter for Yellowhead Helicopters, one of Canada’s leading helicopter operators. Yellowhead recently took delivery of two Eagle 407HP helicopters. The Eagle 407HP is powered by Honeywell’s HTS900 turboshaft engine.

The HTS900 gives the 407HP the power and performance to tackle a wide range of missions – including the delicate job of plucking conifer cones from treetops!

This new (to me, at least) helicopter mission reminds of the utility and versatility of helicopters and the important role that these remarkable aircraft play in our everyday lives. 

Evangela Rodgers

Evangela Rodgers

Evangela Rodgers is the Marketing Communications Manager for the Defense and Space business unit of Honeywell Aerospace. Prior to joining Honeywell in 2011, Evangela worked for EMS Technologies, Defense and Space as the Sr. Marketing Administrator.

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