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Helilift: Tree removal in Brisbane with the assistance of a helicopter

The most exhilarating day since our business began
When you love working with trees, every tree maintenance job is an exciting one. But on January 21st, 2008, we certainly had one of the most exciting days of our 30-year career.

What was the big deal?
The deceased eucalyptus on our client’s site was situated at the rear of our client’s property and was virtually inaccessible to large machinery. Without large machinery, a conventional ‘take down’ is impossible.

Why we decided to use a helicopter
Originally, we were going to use an 80 tonne crane to extract the large eucalyptus; however, the only access to the tree was through the neighbour’s yard (that backed onto our client’s property). After discussing the possible ramifications of using an 80 tonne crane on the neighbour’s property, we realised that we’d have to come up with a different plan. That’s when the idea of using a helicopter came to mind. We’d never used a helicopter before, and to be honest, at first the job seemed daunting and unrealistic. However, after contacting McDermott Aviation, all our fears were quelled and we felt a renewed sense of confidence. Damien from McDermott Aviation was happy to assess the situation, and once onsite, he advised that his team could extract the tree using 5 metre slings (rated at over 5 tonnes lifting capacity), requiring 15 – 20 separate lifts within the 4-hour minimum booking time. At this point, we were very confident the job was going to run smoothly!

The big day arrived!
I was first contacted about this tree removal job in November 2007, and it took us 8 weeks to formulate the best plan, organise all the required permits and aviation clearances, and comb through every detail of this complex job. But January 21st finally arrived! It had been raining for two weeks prior to January 21st and it would continue to rain a further two weeks after; however, on the day of the take down, the heavens were clear – it was all systems go for our team of 7! For this job, we had our resident arborist as the lead climber, with a secondary climber in place for health and safety precautions. We organised a spider 23 metre tower, which fit through the carport, to safely remove all the log sections.

This delicate operation was about to start
The team were in the backyard waiting for the chopper to arrive, and when it finally turned up it didn’t let us down with its thunderous blades cutting through the air with such force, enough to blow everyone’s helmets clear off! With the road controls in place and all the boys at their stations, the helicopter hovered over the old deceased Eucalyptus to dislodge any loose branches. Before we knew it, the first branch was being flown over Eight Mile Plains. What a satisfying feeling! All the adrenaline had culminated to this very moment, and it was worth the wait! Many neighbours gathered to watch the incredible sight. Absolutely everyone was impressed at how smoothly the job went.

The most professional and technical tree removal we have ever been involved with
The tree was safely extracted, lift after lift, in less than three hours. Once the helicopter was gone we went back into the yard to see if there was any damage to plants. Apart from a couple of small branches that had fallen off in the original hover, there was no damage at all. This was truly the most professional and technical take down we had ever been a part of. It was a proud moment for all of us!

We are now known as the ‘Difficult Access Specialists’
Since completing this job, we have had a great deal of interest in our wide range of services, and in particular, as difficult access specialists.

Although this job proved to be an especially exhilarating experience, we feel a great sense of satisfaction after every tree maintenance or tree removal job, no matter how big or small it is. Glenn Walton is the owner and director at Brisbane Tree Experts. Brisbane Tree Experts is a family-owned tree maintenance and tree removal business that has been trusted by the people of Brisbane for over 40 years.