Early in 1972, I headed up to northern Manitoba to do some winter work for Aerotrades Helicopters and Joe Kreke. When I checked into the Playgreen Inn in Norway House, there was but one room remaining. Happy as I was to have a room, little did I know but there was a reason for that vacancy.
At the time, Never Ending Love for You (with apologies for the link, it’s the only one I could find with the music) was a huge hit with the locals. It blared from the bar’s jukebox night and day. Since I was the happy resident of the room above the bar, it would be the last music I heard before I went to sleep, and, because someone lit up the jukebox at 6 a.m., it was the first music of the day. Even today I can remember the words and the beat as it was played from dawn to dusk over and over again in the hotel bar.
If I recall correctly, this was a winter road survey contract, which would eventually lead to the construction of 392, the road to Snow Lake. I spent some time at Footprint River, where the camp was located, and then did some flying around the Rat River area. What I remember the most is that it was cold. Very cold.
When the 50-hour came due (or perhaps the 100-hour; I don’t remember), one of the brothers flew himself north in a Cessna and taxied up to the the helicopter. The oil was drained onto the ice, the logbook was signed, and then he was gone. That was the quickest 50-hour (100-hour?) I ever experienced. With a maintenance program like that, I figured that wasn’t the outfit for me, and after the end of the job at 30 hours, I decided that it was time to depart for greener pastures once again.
Joe was kind enough to fly me south to Winnipeg in his twin. I got to do the low-level flying in bad weather, dodging towers while he did paperwork. Yes, the ceiling was that low, and we were VFR.
Did I mention that by then I had logged a grand total of five hours in a Cessna 150? I never did put the free twin time in my book.
Joe is no longer with us, having departed in a 204 while attempting an external load operation with improper nylon lanyards.