Monday, July 30, 2007


It has taken me a couple of days to wrap my head around what happened in Phoenix on Friday. Two working News Gathering Helicopters collided mid-air, killing both crews. They had been covering a police chase on the ground below. Both going live at the time of the accident.

The crews, were not unlike the people who crew Chopper 9 or Global One. Although I did not know any of the victims personally or professionally, they no doubt loved doing what we love doing- hunting news stories from the sky. This sad event has left us all searching for answers. Answers of how could this happen, yet we all knew it was only a matter of time before it would happen somewhere in North America. Answers for why we do it with all the risks associated with helicopter flight.

I am sure when this accident is analyzed and investigated it will expose some of the weakness in the way news is gathered from the sky. No doubt there will be many recommendations when it is all said and done. Can the industry learn? I certainly hope so.

There have been several items posted about this horrible event. You can find them by following this link: News Choppers Down In Phoenix

Friday, July 27, 2007


Wednesday, we learned of a story of great courage, sacrifice and sadness. It was about a man of unbelievable and unquestionable character. He and his family, were enjoying a pleasant day on vacation. Enjoying the water, cooling off on what was no doubt a typical summers day. But this day would be different.

The man's son found himself in some difficulty in the water. There was a strong current, the boy was in danger. With a father's instinct and without hesitation, he went to the boy's rescue. Dad couldn't swim a stroke. He saved the boy, but in doing so, gave his own life.


That man was Kenny Lim. Kenny worked at my station as a Graphic Artist in our News Department. He was one of the original people who helped build and sign on this station 10 years ago. I regret that I was not as close to Kenny as some in the building. But Kenny always had a grin on his face when ever we spoke in the hall or in the elevator. During my all too few conversations with him, I learned he was a Boy Scout Leader and all round nice fellow. He was devoted to his three children and his wife.

Kenny Lim 1960-2007

I know that all of us at CTV Vancouver are richer having known a man, an artist, a father- Kenny Lim.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Flame Out!

My Vacation ended with a phone call on Saturday. I called to make arrangements to pick up my gear for Monday and lo and behold, the voice on the other end of the phone said " You know, you're on the sched for today."

Shit, what time was I supposed to start?"

Well the long and short of it was I began my first day back, a couple of hours late.

Monday brought a return to flight operations for me. Lately the breaking news factor has been a little lean as far as flight ops has been concerned. Surely it would have to change, and soon. With Kink away on holidays, I would be teamed with Kate for the week.

Sitting waiting , scanning, can ware you down. Monday was no different. It was hot and humid. The scanners were quiet and Kate was working the phones to dig something up to sell for the shows. It was looking like the TV News Gods would not smile on us that day.

On days like that, there can be little to pass the time except watch the activity on Runway 26 left as aircraft rolled for takeoff. And this is what I was doing as I listened to scanner chatter wishing for something that would involve flight and a slot in the 5 and the 6.

As I watched a Korean Airlines Boeing 777 position itself at the threshold of 26 left, the sound of Kate's fingers clicking on the laptop computer filled the room. Our office overlooks the runway and I was standing looking our the large picture window at the aircraft. The 777 is considered a "heavy" aircraft and the heavy's aways are fun to watch on takeoff. I know hard to believe after four years out here and I still get a kick out of watching a routine take off.
But this would not be a routine takeoff.

As the massive plane began to thunder down the runway. It was picking up speed to become airborne. Suddenly out of the left engine shoots a flame partway down towards it's tail. My first thought was "wow that's some afterburner".

Then a loud bang, which shook the windows of our hangar office. It got Kate's attention. Flames still shooting out of the engine, I thought"this is not right"

The plane began to break and slow. The entire event maybe lasted 5 seconds. I had seen it all. I grabbed my DSLR and banged off a few frames as the aircraft came to a stop on a taxi way just off of the runway.

This shot taken just seconds after I saw the flame shoot out the rear of the engine in the picture. The plane is at this moment trying to break and slow to get itself off the runway.

Wow. I told Kate I was going to the truck to grab my tripod. As I sprinted to the parking lot I called our desk.
This shot as the pilots steer the massive plane off the runway to an adjacent taxiway.

"Gregg, Murman" I said huffing and puffing.

"The scanners are about to light up, this is what's happening,,,," I told him what I saw and that I was going to roll from the ground. We had decided that if the passengers were to be evacuated where the plane now was stopped on the taxiway, then we would launch the chopper and do a fly over as we exited the airport.

When I returned to the office I set up and rolled on the stricken plane. There was no fire and emergency teams had not yet arrived.

When they did, they assessed the situation and since the fire was out, they inspected the engine on the taxiway. After several minutes the aircraft moved on it's own power to a gate for passenger egress.

Needless to say, I am sure there were some very grateful people glad to be off that particular plane.The jet as it comes to a full stop on the taxiway fortunately there were no injuries or further fire to the the aircraft.

It certainly gave us something to sell for the 5 and 6.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Nope I'm not Dead, Dead Tired Maybe.

Much time has pasted since I sat down to put thought to words. There has been much that has transpired, but inspiration has failed me. In that time I have marvelled at how photog scribes like Stuart Lenslinger Pittman have cranked it out day after day almost effortless. Yes they too run into those days of writers block, but manage to overcome and deliver.
It is done with practice and commitment. Both I have been lacking in recent weeks. Hopefully a well earned vacation away from everything has recharged and re-energized me.

For all of you who have been dropping by to see if I am still alive,,,, I thank you. I return to Flight duty on Monday and with any luck there will be much to write about.