Saturday, July 24, 2010

Executive Helicopters Inc. Part 3

I remained at Executive Helicopters up until 1968.  I had gained enough flight experience by then, that I felt confident I could teach and instruct others.  I studied for the written test and  took the flight test for my Flight Instructor rating.  Later on we trained pilots for the U.S. Army.  This became a valuable rating.  Almost every helicopter position I had after this, involved flight instructing.  We did a lot of seasonal work and every year we could count on doing these same jobs again.  In November right after Thanksgiving, some of the bigger shopping areas would do a promotional flight and have us fly a Santa Claus into their parking lot.  During the summer months we did what was called a Ping Pong ball drop.  The merchants got together and marked some of the balls for prizes.  We would have large sacks of these balls and would throw them out over a crowd of people in the middle of the parking lot.  I use to get there a bit early and would do a few practice runs over the parking lot to see if I could move the crowd of people around.  If I veered to one side of the parking lot, the people would all run that way, once they got started, I would turn the other way.  One year they got a lot of rain in Kansas City and it was football season.  I got a call from the grounds keeper for the Kansas City Chiefs.  They asked if I could land the helicopter in the stadium.  When I got there, the end zones had a lot of standing water, so I would hover over the wet spots and dry off the field before the game.
We did some work for Comet Electronics which was owned by the Kansas City Southern railroad.  They liked our company so much, that they bought the company and moved it to the Fairfax airport.  One year I was sent on a flight to New Orleans.  I was to follow the railroads from the Kansas City Southern railroad yard back to Kansas City.  On this flight I was to take pictures of all the passing tracks along the way.  I never quite knew what the purpose of this flight was, but it took several days to fly both ways and it was a fun flight.
company, we then became Comet Aviation. We moved into a large hanger on the Fairfax airport in Kansas. The hanger had a very large two story building attached to it and our operation expanded overnight. When Comet bought Executive Helicopters,  we  became a full fledged Fixed Base Operation.

Hannibal Bridge near the downtown airport

During one of the colder winter months, the ice flow in the Missouri river caused several large barges to break loose from their moorings.  The barges were threatening some damage to one of the bridge piers near the airport. This very same thing happened in the winter of 1951.  I met with a worker from the barge company and I flew him out over the river and landed the helicopter 0n one of the barges.  He then attached a line to the drifting barges and they were then secured to the shore.  

No comments:

Post a Comment