Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Sven and I got to do a lot of flying in helicopters during the whole Kulluk response thing, and we got to know the Era helicopter pilots pretty well. These guys are GREAT. After our role in the response was over they came in to the museum for a tour. We also ran into them while eating dinner with the kids at the powerhouse. Stuey was intrigued to meet a real helicopter pilot, and they offered to give the kids a tour of the helicopters. And so yesterday afternoon we took the kids out to meet the pilots Nico, Chris and Brian, and look over the helicopters.
The helicopter that we flew in is a Bell 212 - basically the 1980s offspring of the Huey so familiar to everyone because of their use in Vietnam. Also in the hanger was one of the huge helicopters Era uses to go out to the Kulluk rig itself. The huge helicopter had computer screens and is apparently mostly flown by computers. I learned that the smaller 212 is more of a workhorse and better suited to landing on mountains etc. Both of the helicopters are much bigger than the Bell Jet Ranger I am used to flying in - click here to see a post where we use a helicopter to go skiing. I also made a youtube video (click on 'youtube video' to go to link) of one of our ski trips in the Jet Ranger. Imagine if we had one of the 212s in Kodiak - we'd be able to take a HUGE group of us up to go skiing!
Anyway, the kids loved the helicopters. I'm wondering if Stuey or Eilidh might become helicopter pilots themselves. Patrick