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UK pilot in R44 shot down in Tanzania

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UK pilot in R44 shot down in Tanzania

Old 30th Jan 2016, 20:17
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Angry UK pilot in R44 shot down in Tanzania

This morning a Robinson R44 owned by Friedkin Conservation Fund was shot down by poachers using AK47 assault rifles during a patrol flight in a private game reserve in Tanzania, killing the pilot Roger Gower from the UK.

Heroic British pilot killed after helicopter fired on by machine gun-wielding elephant poachers in Tanzania - Mirror Online

Rest in peace.

Last edited by Hawkeye0001; 1st Feb 2016 at 13:05.
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 03:40
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B*ggers! Capital punishment for the poachers!
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 08:39
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Unhappy

Rest in Peace

very sad way to go; doing the right thing!
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 10:41
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B*ggers! Capital punishment for the poachers!
Could happen if they catch them.

Tanzania The Death Penalty Project
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 11:26
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Is this the first recorded incident of an R44 being shot down?
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 11:51
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I can only speak for East Africa, but yes. From what it looks like he was ambushed by the poachers while hovering low over a carcass of one of three elephants that were shot that morning in the reserve.
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 12:13
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Might, with hindsight be prudent to wear body armour...
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 12:35
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Let the poachers use their AK's on a couple of these:

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Old 31st Jan 2016, 15:10
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Might, with hindsight be prudent to wear body armour...
Not much use against a AK
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 16:34
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Per BBC arrests made

Tanzania arrests suspects after British helicopter pilot killed - BBC News

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 18:23
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British Pilot shot down in Tanzania

Sad, I hope the perpetrators will get the maximum punishment.

Authorities arrest 3 suspects over killing of British helicopter pilot in Tanzania | Daily Mail Online
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 18:38
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This has already been reported in threads on the African Aviation and Rotorheads Forums; could one of the Mods merge the three?
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 19:42
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My sympathies for a brother pilot, but this situation has a tinge of naivety. You are up against armed poachers with AK47's, hovering low in their whereabouts searching for them. They don't want to get caught, and a short burst to take out a nosy helicopter will improve their chances.

What did you think was going to happen? Lots of other, more innocent people have been shot just for accidentally being near poachers, let alone those in the hunt for them.

Met a pilot at ADA that was missing a bone in his arm after taking a round from poachers in Africa when he accidentally stumbled on some while just driving a jeep looking at game.
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 19:59
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And by me, on "Where are they now" . . . .
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 20:42
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I lived in Africa in the fifties. At that time is was normal for rangers to cull elephants because they were eating themselves out of house and home. Young bulls, cast out by the herd's matriarch, would wander, full of testosterone and a massive log on their shoulder, causing mayhem in the villages and plantations. Professional ivory hunters, selecting only the young mature bulls because of the grain and quality of their tusks would fell them with one shot from a high powered rifle.

Then they banned the ivory trade.

Great joy and celebration as yet another country burns piles of confiscated tusks each vying with each other as who can burn the most. Six thousand tusks are being destroyed, they gloat.

Three thousand elephants have to die to replace them.

In the space of fifty years the elephant, once one of the most common animals wandering the plains of Africa, is now an endangered species.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 1st Feb 2016 at 19:53.
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Old 1st Feb 2016, 04:20
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This is very tragic for Rodger, but is irresponsibility at it best, both from the Friedkin Conservation and the pilot.
It is common knowledge that the war against poaching is a real WAR and these are well armed and organised groups.
To go up against them in a toy helicopter with no protection is foolhardy and inviting this sad outcome. Protective vests, a plate of ballistic protection in the seat and two pilots would be a minimum, and no need to be low level. Better still get a cheap camera/FLIR turret and sit at 1000 feet. Sorry, but this needs to be said. RIP
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Old 1st Feb 2016, 08:23
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Some images from online sources; as others have said, it seems senseless to have been hovering around in an area known to have armed poachers







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Old 1st Feb 2016, 18:36
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Helialan. You are of course quite right.

However, how often do we find that individuals/ charities try to do the best they can with limited resources (and yes well intentioned naivety) when the politicians only pop up and pontificate for personal self aggrandisement, when there is a disaster.

At times like this, one can only wishfully hope that the politicians are getting hauled over the coals locally for this...........
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Old 1st Feb 2016, 22:37
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Actually, I'm surprised the anti-poaching agencies don't use either drones or cheaper surveillance aircraft to track the poachers. I have a friend who worked at Nairobi Wilson airport and told me that Simon Everett had a Diamond DA42 in the Air Kenya hangar there which was fitted with surveillance gear. I know Everett have left Wilson now, but I don't know if they still have the DA42. It's got the advantages of being a twin piston with low fuel consumption, long endurance and is night and IFR capable, ideal for tracking poachers from a safe altitude using IR sensors I'd have thought. Just my uninformed view, but might save the life of another pilot in an aircraft with no protection operating against ruthless poachers with weapons powerful enough to kill an elephant.

I'm sorry if this is thread drift and send my sympathy to the family of the late Captain Gower. I only hope that his tragic death will lead to improvements in tracking and capturing theses killers and those in faraway continents outside Africa that fund and drive this vile trade.
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