After reading Bill Wagstaff’s article on heli-logging in AIN, I feel compelled to respond. I lived and worked on Vancouver Island for over 20 years. Thanks to that experience, I think I can inject another perspective to the issue of the environment and economic soundness of heli-logging.
Aviation International News » June 2003
Successfully completing phase one of what will be the world’s first civil certification of a tiltrotor aircraft, veteran convertiplane pilot Roy Hopkins recently found himself in possession of something he hadn’t had much of in the last few months: spare time.
Heli-USA has taken a break from the usual Hawaiian air-tour repertoire of overflying thick jungles, pristine tropical rainforests, volcanoes surging with liquid magma and plunging sliver waterfalls. Instead it is offering tourists the alternative of seeing the 50th state’s glittering nightlife from the same unique perspective.
Like its predecessors, it would be the most widely recognized helicopter in the world– the personal transport for the world’s most powerful leader, a leader who has traveled by helicopter since the mid-1950s. And a leader who had traveled in the same make and almost the same model of American-made helicopter most of those days.
Twenty-five years ago, former Bell Helicopter engineer Frelon Tullos founded Heli-Dyne Systems in response to a market he recognized, one that his former employer, for simple reasons of economy of scale, couldn’t fill. That need found its source in the well known iconoclastic nature of the helicopter operator.
In the arcane world of helicopter rotor aerodynamics, two concepts that show promise for enhancing safety and performance in the world of high-density-altitude heavy lift are under development on opposite sides of the U.S. Briefings on both were presented at the American Helicopter Society’s annual forum last month in Phoenix.
“‘What do they know about the helicopter business? They’ll be begging to be bought out in six months.’ That’s what the rest of the industry was saying about us when we bought the civil division of what had been Boeing Helicopters back in 1998,” recalled Mesa, Ariz.-based MD Helicopters Inc. (MDHI) president and CEO Henk Schaeken.
Amid numerous press accounts of helicopter heroism during the war in Iraq comes this story of the sort of everyday utility humanitarianism that should walk hand-in-hand with power. Last March 15, the U.S. Navy frigate USS Crommelin was assigned to locate a fishing vessel reported to have a badly injured crewman off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.
It’s unclear what the following facts really say about a mode of transportation that’s nearly 60 years old, but a new Nevada corporation has set up shop selling three-minute helicopter rides in popular amusement park venues both in the U.S. and overseas using Robinson R44s. Doing business under the name of Helicopters Unlimited, the business proposes to offer three-minute helo rides alongside the bungee jumping and roller coasters.
Some pilots don’t look forward to flying in bad weather, but helicopter pilot and TV news reporter Johnny Rowlands actually fires up his Bell JetRanger and goes after the very worst in bad weather. Twice in May, on the 4th and 8th, Rowlands used “NewsChopper 9,” KMBC-TV’s Bell JetRanger, to track tornadoes that were savaging the Kansas City area, destroying property and killing people.