Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jetcopters Part 5

During the 1984 Olympics, which was held in Los Angeles, CA, Jetcopters had helicopters assigned to every domestic and international news and sports television networks.  We had the only downtown heliport, which was located within walking distance of the Coliseum.  I personally worked on the heliport approval for several weeks and in the beginning, it did not look to hopeful that the FAA would give us permission to use the site.
In the end, we got the nod to make our takeoff's and landings in the temporary heliport, which was a parking lot.

1984 Olympics opening ceremony 

I was assigned to an ABC television sports network out of New York for the seven day event. The Los Angeles and Orange county airspace was highly restricted and you could hardly fly anywhere in the city without being over one of the Olympic events. The Los Angeles police helicopter unit developed a special coding system, with an encryption guide that we used everyday for making entry into these areas.

This was the year that the Russians boycotted the Olympics for security reasons.  Before the Olympic events began, I made a special flight with a presidential team, which consisted of several  military generals and admirals to review all of the event venues to evaluate security.  We also had on board the helicopter an FBI agent to narrate all the security for each area.   In the end, the Russians, still did not come to Los Angeles.  I think in the beginning, it was thought,  there would be several terrorist actions, but nothing happened.  I was scheduled to fly at least 21 hours minimum during the entire time of the Olympics, in the end, I flew about 10 hours.

 I was scheduled to fly three passengers from the Van Nuys, CA airport to a location on the high desert called, Willow Springs raceway.  This was  30 miles north of Palmdale, CA  My passengers were Danny Sullivan, winner of the 1985 Indy 500, in his famous spin to win the race in the final laps, singers, Christopher Cross and John Denver.
Danny Sullivan had arranged for them to try out a couple of exotic Lamborghini Countouch sports cars for the day.

Danny Sullivan, kneeling, John Denver, seated, Christopher Cross, background
click to enlarge

I have always been a big fan of auto racing and also I enjoyed the music of John Denver.
I really had a nice day watching these neat cars race around the road course and enjoyed visiting with John Denver.

This was one of the perks of working for Jetcopters.  They seemed to have a lock on flying all the celebrities from both Hollywood and the entertainment world.

More Jetcopters on the next post. . . . . . . .

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