Friday, November 02, 2012

Below VFR

Reassignments, maintenance and weather. These are few of my least favorite things,,,,, when it comes to spending time aboard my magic flying machine, Chopper 9. In fact I have not logged a single flight hour since Aug. of this year. One might call it a drought or bad luck. I call it refocusing.

The weeks leading up to this "drought" brought questions to whether I really wanted to continue with being a part of this program. Had I had enough of flying? Was I taking this gig for granted? Had it stopped being fun?

Then on my second to last day of that flight filled week in August brought a rather unusual shoot to my lap. It wasn't news gathering but it was fun and it made me realize just how lucky and blessed I am to hold a position on the Chopper 9 Crew.

During these recents weeks of below VFR (Visual Flight Rules) I managed to play with some footage of that "fun" flight. I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


It has been a lean year when it comes to me and quality flight time aboard good ol' Chopper 9. These lulls come in cycles. Sometimes they last a week, sometimes longer. Helicopter repairs, camera repairs,   Microwave problems, 100 hour inspections, budget considerations and other assignments have fallen on many of my flight weeks in the past twelve months. At one point I wondered if I would ever enjoy flying again.
Thankfully these things come to an end eventually and my last flight rotation marked that end. For a couple of days I thought the good old days of flight were back. The assignments were not anything to get too excited about, and a couple didn't make air, but they did put a smile on this old puss and reminded me just how fortunate I am when it is all said and done.

Last week happened to be Air Show week at nearby Abbotsford. Some of you may remember a story about Mach Daddy from the days which we would be a participant of the Air Show. Now times are different and when I got the call to head on out to Abby and "shoot the Snow Birds as they fly in" as a potential VO for 5 and 6, I knew we would be in for a treat.

When we arrived into Abbotsford airspace, the tower informed us that they had not heard of an ETA for the Snow Bird Team. I spotted a USAF C-5 on approach to Runway 26. I rolled my disc and double X'd my FLIR onto the turning aircraft. I never get tired of shooting air to air especially when the subject is something you do not see in these parts very often.

The tower gave us clearance to land on a helipad away from the tower and ramp where aircraft were beginning to be positioned for the upcoming show. I rolled on the big winged beast as it touched down and taxied toward it's parking spot.

As the massive aircraft lumbered along the taxi way, we came in on final to our landing pad assignment. We shut down and I called the desk to fill them in on what I had and that the principle intended target, the CF Snow Birds were at least 45 minutes out from the airport. The desk told me that they would rather we not stay and wait but rather head back so we could fly during our suppertime show. And that the powers that be no say that the show is rather full so the VO would likely get dropped.
I was told that we could hang for 15 minutes but then we would have to head back to Vancouver.
Well at least we got a flight to Abby and we did see something you don't see every day. So on a personal level not a total loss. I asked Stef, my pilot to call the tower and begin the process of getting a window to depart back for YVR. When he powered me back on in the back, he told me that there are now two CF 18's inbound and that the tower wants us to stay on the ground until they are down. Needless to say I roll another disc as the fighters fly low level around the airfield. They are surveying the "show line" for references in preparation for the upcoming airshow.

Stef asks for a take off and a holding position so we can shoot this unexpected Fighter show. To my delight the tower granted our request and we were now operating at 200 ft and below watching the Fighters strut their stuff.
It was good to work the camera on a fast moving aircraft. It had been far too long and to see that I could still keep the fighters in frame with the double X, well lets just say it was satisfying.

The kicker to the story was the VO never went to air, other content from the days events bumped it off the show. But for kicks and giggles, and to bone up my new found skills in the world of Final Cut, I but together this little video for you to enjoy. I hope you like it.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

A Little Boy Once More

Set the "Way Back" machine to the 1960's. At that time there were many TV programs that a young fellow like me loved because they took you away to a world so alien, so fantastic that they became the stuff of dreams. Flipper, Sea Hunt are just two examples that I enjoyed weekly. I would spend hours pretending to "skin dive" with Flipper or search an undersea wreck with the Bridges brothers. Always looking for that great adventure beneath the sea.
When I was about five or six, my mother bought me a mask and fins just before summer. We spent those hot days away at the cottage and you would always find us splashing about down on the beach.
For Mom the water represented a place to relax, to cool off, to swim. She was a very good swimmer. She was a member of a local Synchronized Swim Team, so being comfortable in the water sort of came natural.
The water for me however, represented a place of adventure, somewhere sea creatures lived and sunken treasure was to be found. I would spend hours with my mask and fins under the water at the cottage, exploring the bottom at shocking depths of 3-5 feet. Coming out of the water only when my hands were so prune-y that you would have thought they were the hands of an elderly grandfather. Not bad for a kid who was only playing make believe.

As the summers marched on and the little boy who played make believe in the water grew, another TV program grabbed his attention and imagination - The Under Sea World of Jacques Cousteau. It was at that time he understood that he wanted to one day explore the Oceans like Captan Cousteau and the crew of the Calypso.

Years went by but I never forgot my desire to learn to SCUBA and in the early eighties got my SCUBA ticket. That first dive in the cold dark Bay of Fundy was about as far from those warm tropical locations that Cousteau and his crew explored.
But none the less SCUBA became a part of me in those years, and exploring the Fundy deep was something of a weekend ritual for a time.
But like many interests of youth, life has a way of squeezing them further out of reach. Wetsuits become a bit more snug, and then one day, don't fit at all. Life happens and simple joys of childhood get left behind. 

Well, fast forward several years, and suddenly this little boy is 50. What do you do at 50? How 'bout becoming that wide eyed little boy under the water again, exploring, pretending to be like Jacques Cousteau and encountering mysterious sea life. This time, someplace warm.

This is that video as I snorkelled in Hawaii just a few weeks ago and my encounter with the Honu- Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. For these moments I was that little boy once more, imagining, exploring and enjoying my new friend Honu.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Me, my son, the GoPro and Whistler = Perfect Day

A week or so ago, a day off, a weekday and a decent weather window all came together for me. The first time this particular winter. Needless to say, I load-ied up the skis and headed to my favorite ski resort for a day of snow fun. The boy came along and well this vid is how we spent that day. Humping tripods and lights into any presser was the furthest thing on my mind. Love those days off when you can recharge, the mind anyway. Have to say the body was shall we say, hyper aware of the parts that don't get used too often,,,,,,. 
Please enjoy, and thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Humming Birds- and My GoPro

It has been many months since tapping my thoughts to keyboard and publishing those ramblings and musings for this Blog.
I figure it is time to turn the page and move forward with another post. Nothing news worthy, but just a post and a fun video I put together a couple of days ago playing with my GoPro and Laptop. The subjects are a group of birds that visit my balcony everyday giving me hope that Spring is not that far off. So please enjoy and feel free to share, and thanks for stopping by World Wide Murman's blog.