For the past 3 years we have had our helicopter on a static display as part of the Abbotsford International Airshow. It is a show that runs over three days during the first full weekend of every August. In past years, aircraft of every shape and description find their way to the ramps of Abbotsford Airport and Chopper 9 is no different.
During the past 3 shows we have met thousands of people and given them a tour of Western Canada's first news gathering helicopter. Some have questions, most are excited to get an up close look and a hands on attempt at operating the FLIR camera. It's all in good fun and it helps us make a personal connection to our viewers. We give away hats and tee shirts give the kids fridge magnets and this year we introduced tattoos. A big hit with the kids. By the end of the weekend our crew's voices sound a bit on the raspy side, but it is worth it.
Last season I met a gentleman who introduced himself as a model maker. His name is Duncan. During the course of our conversation he told me he had given up his career to follow his passion for building hi end aircraft desk models.
Duncan was beginning his new business and was using the opportunity of having hundreds of aviation people in one place to make as many contacts as he could. He presented me with his card and asked me about the possibility of producing a scale model of our very own Chopper 9. I was of course interested. I gave him the VIP tour of the machine and he showed me photos of some of his work.
There were photos of Planes and helicopters all finely detailed and decaled. We shook hands and agreed to make contact after the Airshow weekend.
Over the next few months we had exchanged phone calls and emails. He came to the hangar to take some photos and some measurements. "There was no rush" I had told him, as he was making this one on spec. He had many paying clients that had deadlines and like any business you need to look after your clients.
Duncan would email and tell me of his progress. I know he wanted this one to be a one of a kind item. Eventually I get a call and it's done. He and I had agreed on a price and a pick up. He told me he had kept his molds and he would be able to make more if required.
Well I had hoped that when the brass saw this beautiful replica they would be jumping all over it, wanting one for clients or perhaps for themselves. But it was not to be. At least not then.
Duncan was at the Airshow again this year. This time with his own kiosk, many of his fine pieces on display for potential buyers. In his book of photos there's a model, yes my model of CTV Chopper 9. I own it with pride.