Thursday, July 22, 2010

Executive Helicopters Inc. Part 2

Kansas City Power and Light had powerlines all over the state of Missouri and some went as far north as Nebraska.  I would often pickup a lineman for the company and we would spend almost an entire day patrolling the powerline right of ways.  This was not dangerous work, but we did have to fly very low and close to the towers.  Also in order to see the overall condition or the powerlines, we would fly at a very slow speed until reaching the sub stations where the powerlines ended.  On the return legs, we could follow the lines, but at a normal speed.  These patrols could last up to as many as nine or ten hours.
When ever there was a severe storm or high winds, I could count on going on one of these flights.  As soon as the sun came up the next day, I would be at the airport and ready to go.  In April of 1966, I was scheduled to go on a powerline patrol flight out to the south of the city.  Early one morning while shaving in the bathroom, my wife who was eight months pregnant, came to the door and said she thought she was going to have the baby that day.  Of course it was not due for another month, so I didn't give it much more thought.  I started out on my flight early that morning and the weather was getting very bad.  Who would of thought we would have had freezing rain at this time of the year.  Any kind of ice that forms on the rotor blades can be very severe.  It changes the shape of the airfoil of each blade and can cause a considerable loss in lift created by the rotor system.
We landed at one of the sub stations on the south side of the city and I called in to let our office know that I was cancelling the flight.  Jerry Getz answered the phone and said that my wife had called and she was now certain she was going to have the baby.  Not giving much thought to the changing weather, I fired up the helicopter and headed for the airport which was about a 30 minute flight.  So much ice had formed on the helicopter that it was impossible to see out the front.   I landed several times to scrape the ice off the windshield before getting back to the airport.  I jumped in the car and picked up my wife and drove her to the hospital.  She had the baby(our daughter Holly) minutes after we arrived.  I guess new fathers just don't know these things.  I did get a scolding from her doctor for ignoring the first signs from my expecting wife.  So many more things to tell from my time spent working in Kansas City,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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