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  The American Surveyor     

Survey Locales: Seek Your Bliss Print E-mail
Written by Daryl Moistner   
Saturday, 24 June 2017

A 3.093Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

Seek your Bliss ... that's a surveyor's creed, yeah? ... Well in this case it's also an aviator's creed. This photo is of me and Alex Shapiro the helicopter pilot. Setting control points along the Noatak River. The helicopter pilot is about the most integral part of the work crew. It's up to him to get you where you need to be. Their skills for insertion and extraction of the survey crews in as safe a manner as possible can never be underestimated.

I've flown with a lot of pilots over the years, some have become great friends, some are no longer with us...back in the early 80's most of the pilots were Vietnam War vets ... they definitely had the skills to get the job done. We flew in a lot of Bell Jet Rangers back then. But today I hardly ever see them let alone utilize them. They seem to have phased out with the retiring Vietnam Vet Pilots.

If our projects are in harsh or steep terrain we tend to go with the Hughes 500 ...lots of power and the small rotor diameter can tuck you into the tightest of spots. There are a few cons though.... it's a particularly pricey helicopter to lease, it's a gas guzzler, and its turbine screams so loud into your skull you feel like you just spent 6 hours in the front row of a Metallica concert.

The Robinson 44 pictured here is a less expensive and very versatile helicopter. It runs on regular gasoline instead of Jet Fuel. Quicker start up time and much quieter in that you can talk to others under the spinning blade. Okay, yeah ... you're still probably having to yell to get your point across but at least you're not using sign language. Awesome machines they are.

So what do we say when we get done with a surveying task and have to return to the helicopter? In our best Arnold Schwarzenegger accent we say "Let's get to the Choppa!"

A 3.093Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

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