Return to Flight Status

Yesterday was my first day back in the skies for quite some time. The reason for my absence is not important, but it suffices to say, you don’t know how much you enjoy something until its not there. That is an absolute when it come to my time aboard Chopper 9.

Chopper 9 Pilot Guiv readies for takeoff

I could hardly wait to get back in my seat, camera control panel on my lap, but the News Gathering Gods would not cooperate. I had to settle for a single beauty shot for the 6. It didn’t matter, it was just good to be in the air.

I retired for the evening after the show flight, grateful for the ride. I hoped that something would happen this week that would warrant the unique features of news hunting from the sky.
At 10:57PM I would get my answer.

That answer came in the form of a phone call from my Ops Manager, requesting I get my ass out of bed at first light to fly over a high voltage power pylon that had collapsed into the Fraser River near the Port Mann Bridge. The lines were in the river and several other pylons were now in jeopardy of collapsing.

Needless to say 5am comes pretty quick and I managed to get myself in for a 6am flight to the incident. As we took off, again I was reminded of just how much I enjoy this gig.
We soon got a look at just what a problem this downed hydro tower was to the area. Authorities closed the Port Mann Bridge, a main crossing from the city of Surrey to the south side of the Fraser. Commuters   from the Fraser Valley going to Vancouver now have to detour to other bridges and via otherwise quite neighbourhoods to get to Vancouver.
The situation is one of “Traffic Armageddon”. One radio report says “If you can work from home, then stay home.” Who knew a simple downed line could cause such a mess.

A shot from my window of the downed Hydro Pylon

We flew over the scene along with all the other regular “traffic watch” aircraft. We did not have any particular show that we needed to service, but we gathered tape and the boys back at the station were ingesting our feed for items for the 5 and 6.
We flew for about 90 minutes when word came that the Bridge was about to be reopened. We stuck around for a bit longer and sure enough the trickle of vehicles slowly became a torrent across the Bridge.
I am sure we will be back on the scene before the end of the day and again for the 5 and 6.
Its not as sexy as a land slide or a riot or a big fire, but hey its a living and I love it!

I’ll be blogging on a regular basis form here on in and as time goes on and I work the rust off of the keyboard. I hope to give you the reader some entertainment and perhaps some insight of what it is like to be in the chase as we try to bring stories to our viewers.