Netherlands-based Zeusch Aviation completed its first broadcast relay flight this month when it worked with media technology company NEP to support live television coverage of this year’s Volta Limburg Classic single-day cycle race.

The aircraft flew above the circular route as live images were captured from the ground, relayed to the base station which immediately sent footage to the Outside Broadcast Vehicle ready for broadcast.

To support the aerial relay Zeusch deployed its King Air C90A which is specially outfitted with dedicated antennas on the underside of the fuselage and wings to capture the images and relay them to the NEP ground station. A two-metre relay boom can be extended and retracted during each mission to strengthen the relay reception range.


Zeusch King Air

An extra camera fitted to the belly of the plane ensures pilots can verify the boom is retracted prior to 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.

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. The skies above Maastricht are well known for being some of the busiest in Europe.

In addition, its location on a three-border triangle between The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, involved continuous flying across three separate air traffic control spaces. Careful flight planning was undertaken by the crew to ensure uninterrupted relay services during the three-hour 45-minute flight.

“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. We even landed back at base with fuel to spare.”

Zeusch King Air

Zeusch King Air
When Zeusch’s King Air isn’t being used for broadcasting TV signals, it can be reconfigured for medevac duty

The NEP relay-flight was the first of many confirmed on the books for Zeusch. NEP has already confirmed ten European sporting events this year with Zeusch providing aerial relay support in the skies above Slovenia, Norway, Hungary, Croatia and Germany.

The next relay flight will be providing broadcast support the Hammer race, a three-day cycling event, in Norway in May.

Zeusch Aviation