Amsterdam-based start-up operator Zeusch Aviation has completed its first flight in support of broadcast coverage, acting as a signal-relay aircraft for live television coverage of a bicycle race in Holland. It used a specially-equipped Beechcraft King Air C90A for the mission.
Working with Dutch media technology company NEP, which has signed a five-year contract with Zeusch, it supported the live television coverage of this year’s Volta Limburg Classic single-day bicycle race. The aircraft flew above the route as live images were captured from the ground, relaying them to a base station, which immediately sent the footage to the outside broadcast vehicle.
Antennas on the underside of the fuselage and wings captured the images and relayed them to NEP’s ground station. An extra camera fitted to the belly of the aircraft allowed pilots to verify the two-meter aerial boom was retracted before landing.
“The Zeusch aircraft formed an integral part of the broadcast team working alongside two motorcycles tracking the race and a helicopter filming the event,” the company said. “With the start and finish of the race in Eijsden, just south of Maastricht, the Zeusch Aviation aircraft flew a circular route above the race for the three-hour broadcast.”
“Our mission is to act as a satellite for the camera operators on the ground and in the helicopter as we provide an aerial bridge between the film crew and the director,” said Boudewijn Schaapveld, first officer for Zeusch Aviation. “The operational capabilities of the King Air make it the perfect aircraft for the relay role. Its endurance, flexibility, and capacity to fly for hours at a time supports the requirements to conduct reliable relay missions.”
Zeusch has also been booked by NEP for several other events, including 10 European sporting events this year. These will see Zeusch providing aerial relay support in the skies above Slovenia, Norway, Hungary, Croatia, and Germany. The next relay flight will be providing broadcast support for the Hammer race, a three-day cycling event in Norway later this month.
Zeusch Aviation is based at Lelystad Airport in The Netherlands and also uses its fleet of King Air aircraft for organ transport, aeromedical, aerial mapping, and charter flights, as well as offering fractional ownership.