Smoothly, the pilot puts down the huge spreader while keeping the helicopter steadily hovering above. A wheeled loader fills the container and then the chopper gets back to spreading. It’s all done in a matter of seconds. Marc waits a short while until the dust falls a little further down. Then he takes his foot off the brake and drives directly towards the loading area. “That was Flo,” he says, pointing to the sky with his finger. The air outside tastes chalky. Your mouth feels as dry as dust.
The Hetralog team for which Marc and Florian Kirschbaum work is responsible for liming an 1,800-hectare area in the forests of the eastern Erz mountains. They let 5,400 tonnes of lime flutter down onto the treetops, from where it slowly makes its way down to the forest floor. As part of this operation, Florian takes to the air for several weeks in his helicopter. On average, around 300 tonnes of the product are released on a daily basis.