Shw mae Carl Albillot! The Welshman who leases small aircrafts into the jungle for a living
What business are you in?
I’m in the business of helicopter and fixed wing leasing and our company is called Intan Air. I’m the CEO which means I handle contracts and also daily logistical meetings. All helicopters are tracked by satellite so I can watch them all on screens from the office.
That’s definitely out of the ordinary. What exactly does this mean?
The helicopters go into jungle areas where mining and oil or gas companies, are exploring. What they have to do is get guys out in the field with equipment and we drop them in. They cut one tree down, and we drop them down with a sling rope. With environmental controls in the jungle, you can’t just chop down many trees for a clearing, so we have to have highly skilled pilots who can hover over and drop people into the jungle. The slings are 200 or 250 feet in length.
Is this a dangerous manoeuvre?
Very, that’s why our pilots have to have a minimum of 5,000 hours of flying under their belts along with extensive sling rope training. Some of our pilots are local, and we have pilots from New Zealand, Australia, America and France. It is dead man’s curve. 200 feet doesn’t give you time to manoeuvre to the ground and as we’re operating in thick jungle, you have nowhere to rotate to as there are no flat areas around.
What are the fixed wing aircrafts used for?
They’re used for sugar cane spraying and low altitude flying. This is where they spray insecticides and nutrients on crops. Some other planes are used for mapping where they use laser cameras and fly over areas in search of gold or coal mines. We also map with magnetic sensors so when we fly over, very low, and the sensors pick up if there is a high concentration of minerals in the ground.
How much does it cost to rent one of your aircrafts?
The cheapest one would be $1,500 an hour and $3,000 an hour for the larger helicopters. Our helicopters are all turbine helicopters.
How many staff members do you have now?
We have 100 and 25 of those are expatriates, mainly pilots and engineers.
Do you have plans to return to Wales?
Well, I’ve been here since 1990 and I quite like it here, so I’ll be here for a few more years.
You must’ve seen a fair portion of this country?
The only place I haven’t been is East Timor. I’ve been all over Sulawesi, Papua, Sumatra and more. Sulawesi is my favourite – there are some spectacular sights there.
Has living in Indonesia changed over the years?
It’s got better and better. When we first arrived, nobody had a television because there was nothing on it! You couldn’t find bread, cheese, but now you can get almost anything. It’s definitely improved.
What do you like doing to escape the city?
I get down to Pelabuhan Ratu on the weekends for fishing on boats. It’s fun to do all year round, however it’s best when it’s raining because the water washes down the rivers and the fish come down with it.
Sounds fun. Any other interesting hobbies?
I used to play football for the Wanderers football club from 1993 until 2009 for the Jakarta International League. We still do five-a-side and we’re going on tour to Singapore and the Philippines in November. If anyone is interested in joining, just email me and I’ll let you know the dates and further information.
I also enjoy horse race betting! A group of friends and myself get together on Saturdays and we bet against each other. Each person picks a horse and the winner gets four points, second place gets two and third place gets one. The guy with the most points picks up the money. We bet Rp.500,000 a head per meeting. Whoever has the least points is the donkey and has to wear the donkey hat with ears which I’ve experienced!
To get in touch with Carl, email him at [email protected]