Hot August Flights in Salem

Yesterday we were at the Hot August Flights in Salem. A few month back we were asked to provide helicopter rides at this event and we said yes.

The night before I packed all the equipment we needed in the car. This included our tent, table, signs and other things like the credit card equipment. I was not planning on flying our Robinson R44 down to Salem. I left this task up to Sandy and Alan who wanted to help out loading and unloading passengers.

Part of the ground crew and I arrived at 7:30am at the airport and started to set up our booth space. Once we were done we had a little time left over before the helicopter arrived. So we decided to get some breakfast which was provided by the Flight Deck Restaurant. While we had our pancakes, sausages, ham and eggs, we saw a couple friends arriving in their airplanes.

Once the helicopter arrived we headed over to our booth, cleaned the helicopter and set everything up for the first customers.

The day started a little slow, so we walked over during a few quiet minutes and checked out the awesome cars, airplanes and helicopters that were on display on the field. Some were really nice vintage cars and they looked like they just came out of the showroom.

The overcast sky cleared up and customers lined up. At the end it turned out to be a pretty busy day.

Thank you Salem for having us. We had a great time and we’re looking forward to coming back!

Skyraider Release Event at Vista Hills Vineyard and Winery

Vista Hills Vineyard and Winery called us again this year to join their celebration of the release of their top product the Skyraider Pinot Noir. They were offering a flight of wine and helicopter tour special. We were thrilled to be invited to provide the Sky-part of this event: the helicopter tours.

We landed with our helicopter just after the ground crew arrived at the premises. Our landing spot was just down the road from the tasting room at the owners house, where they had set up a shady spot on their patio with lemonade for the crew, pilot and customers.

We all enjoyed a great afternoon with great people, amazing views of the vineyard and the valley and of course: helicopter rides. A couple customers were participants in the mornings Wine Country Half-Marathon.

At the end of the day we were invited to taste their wines. I had to say no since I had to fly the helicopter back home, but I enjoyed talking to John, the owner, who was pouring the skyraider wine and sharing stories of his flying experiences.

The 2011 Original Sandfest

After weeks of preparation Pilot and crew have packed the final items and supplies for an afternoon departure to the Sandfest in North Bend, Oregon, a small Oregon Coastal town with a population of approximately 10000.  Ingo, Alan, and DJ will be flying another event at Stoller in the afternoon before they head to North Bend, so Jesse and I are left to load up the dog, Snoopy, and make the 4 hour drive.

Due to Ingo’s tech savvy nature, we are deftly guided by a talking GPS system and we make the trip without mishap.  Although we had hoped to beat him there and have the ‘camp’ set up before his arrival with the helicopter, we find that we narrowly beat them there with only enough time to find wind indicator supplies (balloons & and an American Flag) in town.

It turns out the helicopters arrival was much anticipated, once Ingo and crew touched ground they hardly had the rotors stopped when someone was asking for a ride.  Virgil and Shannon were hooked after one ride and went up two more times over the course of the weekend.  Virgil even hooked us up with rides in their ATV around the dunes.  It was great!

After we got them in the air it was time to set up camp.  We needed to stay near the helicopter at night so we pitched our tents around the perimeter of the landing area which was a couple hundred feet down the hill from the Sandfest.  We were fairly well protected from wind but the gusts were so bad Friday that we had to fix the tent poles several times.  The wind ended up shutting us down Friday, but fortunately mellowed out the rest of the weekend.

At nights we parked the car right next to the helicopter so that people would see there was something in the middle of the lot.  The black helicopter blends in a little too well when there isn’t much light in the area and we wanted to be sure, in case someone rode their ATV’s through the lot, they would notice.  In the end, I think it was Snoopy that kept them at bay 🙂

All in all a good weekend.  It was windier than we would have liked, but that’s the Oregon Coast for you.  We flew, met some great people, DJ and Jesse attended their first bon fire at the Sandfest camp, and we all had some fun; it doesn’t get much better than that.