Friday, September 3, 2010

Tusayan, Arizona

Tusayan is a small town, just outside of the Grand Canyon village.  This is where the heliport is located and also where all our trailers are nestled in amongst some very tall  pine trees.  Until Dan O'Connell came along, Grand Canyon helicopters had a pretty bad track record.  In the short time he had been there, he had assembled a very hard working group of people.  Several pilots, mechanics and people that ran the office and anything else that needed to be done.  No one really had a set job.  I always made an effort to be the first one to the heliport in the hopes of getting the first flight of the day  when people started coming in.  Usually the day started with preflighting one of the Jet Ranger helicopters and then rolling it out to the helipad. We could only carry a partial load of fuel due to the fact we were operating at a very high altitude.  this meant we would be refueling often during the course of the day.  Once the helicopter was started for the first flight of the day, it ran continuous throughout the day without shutting down.  We always refueled hot.  Sometimes I would start out in the morning and never get out of the helicopter for several hours.  As long as their was a line of people waiting we never stopped.  Once in a while, one of the mechanics would come out and lift an access panel to the engine compartment and check things over and make an inspection.  This is what I came for, I wanted to fly as many hours and as often as I could to build up my time in these helicopters.  When anyone wanted a day off, I always worked in their place.  I did not want to miss one opportunity to fly as much as I could.

Picture was taken at the Supi Indian Reservation click to enlarge

I had been at the canyon now for several weeks, my checkouts were completed and I was doing all the scenic tour flights the company offered. I was finally back in my element and I did not realize how much I had missed flying helicopters.  There was no television or radio stations and sometimes it could get pretty lonely at the canyon.  I was working with a really nice group of people and they were like family.  We often did many things together at the end of the day.  Sometimes a BBQ out on one of the canyon points where only the "locals" were allowed to go.  Maybe catch a great sunset at one of the better viewing points.  The Best Western hotel up the street had a nice bowling alley in the basement and some of us would go there and enjoy a few beers.

Even in early spring, sometimes we would get a dusting of snow at the canyon.

Mather Point, Grand Canyon click to enlarge

One of our more scenic tours was to see the Havasu Falls, which was located near  Supai home of the Havasupai  Indian village.  They allowed us to land in an open area on the reservation and then we could walk down to the falls.  This is probably one of the most beautiful sights in the canyon.

Havasu Falls click to enlarge

This was one of the few flights where we shut down for a while.  The falls looks like something created by Disneyland.  I always enjoyed these flights and it was an unusual place to see.

Relaxing at Havasu Falls click to enlarge

Some parts of working at the canyon were not all that bad.  I had never been to the Grand Canyon and I was seeing a lot of the same things our tourist were seeing for the first time.  I have another post of two of my work in the Grand Canyon............

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