Thursday, July 18, 2013

adventures with big helicopters

This is what I've been up to for the last two weeks.

I've been working with one of the large helicopters that you see on the news dropping water on fires.  They usually come with an entourage of a couple pilots, at least two mechanics, and some big trucks.

The entourage.  It was 100 degrees out here. See the shade?  Neither did we.

I didn't get to fly in it because it is restricted to water and cargo operations only.  But it was fun to watch.

My job was to administer the contract, get them all the fire information, and make sure they got paid.
There was a lot of this. The helicopters get moved around a lot to different fires.  Nine hour drive, anyone?

We worked out of remote airstrips. Sometimes I don't even get to see the fire on this type of assignment.

The helicopter takes water to a fire.  That's a 1,000 gallon bucket.

Don't bug me, TSA! I have a badge to get on the ramp!

That's right, I'm allowed to be out here.

My office.  Jealous?

We moved to this fire, where I got to take care of this helicopter too. Everybody loves skycranes.
 Although it might seem boring (No attacking large flames! Stuck at an airport or helibase! No flying on the aircraft even!) the truth is, we often fight over these types of assignments.  They are a break from our regular job, there's nobody to supervise, and fairly low stress.  So my minions better look out! I might HAVE to take their turn on the next assignment managing this helicopter.  Just kidding. Kind of.


  1. Could you at least climb into the car and crank the air conditioning to get out of that heat? :)

  2. Some people do. I think it's better to acclimatize so it isn't as much of a shock when you have to be out!

  3. It's always incredible to see the photos of what you do! Especially sitting here in my beige and grey cubicle :)

  4. Thanks Sabrina! Although, I bet you never had a job where the first task on the job description was "Moves dirt". That was when I was on a hotshot crew. Pretty glamorous...


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