By the time mid-August of 1974 rolled around, the bulk of the helicopter flying operations on Dryden-18 were winding down. Retrieval operations were in full swing, and those of us remaining were anxious to see the end of the operation and depart. Finally, on the 22nd, my wish came true and I was released.
Over the summer I discovered that I had taken quite a liking to flying on fires. The work was challenging but rewarding. I enjoyed the camaraderie of the full-time fire crews who went out and did the difficult work. They were always professional; they were well-trained; they worked hard; they were easy to get along with; they had a great sense of humour. It didn’t get much better than that.
From Thunder Bay I ferried over to Rouyn for a couple of weeks to demo the Hughes 500C for Quebec forestry. I followed that up with some local work out of Thunder Bay, and then did some Hydro flying on the north shore before taking a break and heading overseas.
In all, it was a successful year, not only for me, but for the company too. Larry had gambled on purchasing the new 500s, and the weather and subsequent fire season had rewarded him with a busy summer of fire flying at prime rates for some of the equipment that hadn’t ended up on contracts.
What could be better than that?