Thursday, June 15, 2006

Grounded!

The week began with so much promise. It is my flight week so as many of you regular readers know, I am always geeked up about that. I had just got into the hangar when the cell rang. It was Tanya. Tanya is the goddess of logistics on the assignment desk. She dispatches our ENG Crews. Its a tough gig as she juggles the needs of the assignment editor, and the needs of reporters for cameras and the needs of cameras for their meal breaks. She never has a dull moment, yet she does it with thought and great humour. Many of us don't know how the news room would function without our Tanya. Every news room needs her, but you can't have her, she's ours,,,,,
Anyway, Tan calls: "Murman, I just got a panic call from Gregg"
I interrupt her and say, (and I say this with affection Gregg) "Is there any other kind of call from Gregg? Panic?"
She has a laugh. When she calls I do try to make her smile as you need all the humour you can muster when you sit in Tan's seat.
"We have a potential Flight Request,,,,"
I hadn't been there 2 minutes and we are calling for a squawk code. Off we went to check out a potential hostage situation on a bridge. It turned out to be a "jumper". After a very quick recon, headed off to another potential scene call nearby. It turned into a very quick .9 of an hour. All good.

Off to check out a scene call, shot out of my window

We head back to base and wait for the next call. We don't wait long. Off to Whistler for a construction accident. This call was more serious as a worker had been killed working on Olympic construction. We ended up landing at the Whistler Heliport as Dave met up with a freelancer to gather clips on the ground.

In Whistler, Fueling Up. Blackcomb Helicopter's Eurostar machine in the background

About 45 minutes later a second helicopter arrives. Out pops 2 Global crews. They too are on the story and are scrambling to get some clip action from the ground. One crew leaves via cab and the second camera stays with the ship. We chat for a minute. Then the cell rings, it surprises me as cell service at the heliport is pretty dodgy. I am told to get ready to take flight again. Dave is on his way back and I will cut something on the flight back to Vancouver.
By the time we get ourselves back to Horseshoe Bay, I have cut a bunch of stuff together. As we approach YVR I feed it into the Station. As we land I feel my stomach growl. I glance at my watch, it's almost 4 PM. Geeze where did that day go?
We take flight again for the show and Dave reports from the Helicopter the sad news of a Worker killed on the job. When we return to base, we have logged 4 flight hours for the day. This could shape up to be a busy week.
Tuesday brings a brief scene call which doesn't yield anything news worthy. Still we manage to get a .9 out of it. The rest of the day is slow, but we have the show to look forward to. We could have something breaking during the show and it would salvage the day. The Flying Video Gods however had something else in store for me.
As we took off for our Show Flight I noticed that as I engaged the FLIR camera that my horizon control was not responding to any input I was giving the control. This was a problem. I hoped that a simple reboot would fix the problem. It would not and we were forced to abort back to Base.

Shot of the FLIR Camera mounted on the nose of CHOPPER 9

The plan would be to have CTV engineers work the problem early the next morning. FLIR Camera problems have happened in the past. They usually were fixed by simply changing a fuse accessible in the forward camera. This problem however was not a fuse. Damn.
The news was not good. We would have to send the unit back to the factory in Oregon.
And with that, a flight week that began with so much anticipation ended with me helping engineers load the unit into packing crates.

Grounded!
I guess the only flying I'll be doing will be flying a Live Truck.

The shadow of Chopper 9 as we come in for our final landing Tuesday evening. Talon Helicopter's Eurostar and 206 Jet Ranger in the background

3 comments:

Rad said...

Hey man, didn't anyone tell you Live TRUCKS can't fly! (However given the speed I've seen some drive them perhaps they do fly!)

Glad you sent me a note, this is the first I've read of you blog. I'll add the link to UNDER EXPOSED.

My wife and I will be in Vancouver in October. We spent our honeymoon there 5 years ago and want to go back. We'll actually stay in Uclulet (sp?) on Vancouver Island, but will see the city coming or going.

Anonymous said...

Don't you just love machinery? Things break when you least expect it and when it is least convenient. Yet as with everything mechanical, a little time and usually a lot of money it can be fixed.

Anonymous said...

Since you're grounded, come to Montreal! I need a backup! I have to take some vacations next week... and our camera still works ;-)

Max
Helico TVA, Montreal