Helicopter ’bombs’ used to make slopes safe
Mercredi 3 mars 2010
The changeable weather of the past few weeks has been keeping local pilot extraordinaire, Pascal Brun, busy at work. Pascal, in his cheery yellow helicopter, has been flying over the Chamonix Valley on a regular basis to check out any dangerous cornices or slopes that look at risk of avalanche slides.
Working alongside the Compagnie du Mont Blanc, Pascal’s helicopter is fitted with a “Daisybell”. This is a metal cone that hangs beneath the helicopter ; when the piste security team spot a dangerous looking area, Pascal will fly overhead, lowering the Daisybell to around 3-5 meters above the snow, whereupon it will release an explosion of hydrogen and oxygen, hopefully blasting the snow enough to clear the risky area.
And if you should see plumes of white billowing from the top of the Brévent, don’t worry the Restaurant Panoramic has not caught fire, that’s just Pascal kindly clearing the snow from the terrace ! Alison Shayler source