The threatened pink workstations are a nonstarter, but Nancy Lematta has her hands firmly on the controls of Aurora, Ore.-based Columbia Helicopters. Her late husband, Wes, who founded the company with his brothers, charted a course that she plans to follow.
Erickson Air Crane was called in earlier this week to dump snow on the venue for the Vancouver winter games after a week of rain and unusually warm weather melted the white stuff at some elevations below 4,000 feet. Erickson has been using one of its S-64 Air Cranes to move 13,000-pound loads of snow to cover bare ground at several area ski and snowboard venues, including Cypress Mountain and Mount Black.
Glenn “Wes” Lematta, 83, the founder of Columbia Helicopters, died December 24. Lematta and his brothers started Columbia in 1957 with a single used Hiller UH-12B in which they offered rides at county fairs. The company grew into a global heavy-lift helicopter operator that today employs 600 and operates a fleet of 30 Vertol 107 II and Boeing 234 Chinook tandem-rotor helicopters.
Chris Erickson, chief repair station officer and compliance officer at Erickson Air-Crane, has been elected president of the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) at the association’s annual board meeting. Erickson assumes the presidency after two years as the association’s senior vice president. Dr.
Northern Wisconsin forests are experiencing their worst drought in 70 years. The area’s abundant freshwater lakes have receded to record low levels and, although the spring had been unseasonably cold, by the end of May fire danger was high. More than 946 wild fires had consumed over 2,600 acres throughout the state and fire danger in the vast 1.5 million acre Cheqaumegon-Nicolet National Forest was so severe that the U.S.
Oregon’s legislature voted to honor Columbia Helicopters founder and chairman Wes Lematta by renaming Aurora Airport Wes Lematta Field at the Aurora State Airport.
Investigators are continuing to study why a Carson Helicopters Sikorsky S-61N “Fire King” crashed August 5, killing nine of 13 aboard. This was the first major crash of an S-61 in 25 years.
Summer means fire season, and Columbia Helicopters’ tandem-rotor Chinooks and Vertols have already been dispatched to their bases, primarily throughout the Western U.S., under contracts with the U.S. Forest Service.
“Environmentally sensitive logging.” It’s a phrase that seems almost a contradiction in terms. After all, isn’t logging blamed for habitat destruction of a yards-long list of endangered and outright extinct species? And aren’t helicopters those esoteric flying machines that routinely spew death, fire, spare parts and, worst of all, noise, on every terrain they overfly?
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.