Letter to the Editor

Helping helicopters

San Luis ObispoAugust 31, 2013 

I worked with helicopters for 43 years. You might say I found my niche.

Helicopters are working machines. They’re expensive to operate so they’re not used much for just boring holes in the sky. Usually when you see one flying over, it’s on its way to a job. For 25 seasons I worked with firefighting helicopters all over the West. I’ve worked with a lot of pilots. I’ve heard some of their stories. There is risk involved.

Helicopters are noisy, and this bothers some people. But if you’re hurting and you’re 200 miles from the nearest hospital, or if a wildfire is bearing down on your house, then the sound of a helicopter approaching can be music to your ears.

I’m retired now, and sometimes I miss being out there. Sometimes a helicopter will pass over my house, and I stop whatever I’m doing and go outside to have a look. Today I am grateful for the many years that I was able to spend working around the blades under the western sky.

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