As I was wrapping up a few extra days of workover here in Louisiana I found out that I was going to be down here during the world famous Tarpon Rodeo fishing derby that takes place every year. Though I was not able to go and actually participate (and party) because I was on duty – I did get a chance to check out the scene.
The day to day routine of a helicopter pilot flying in the Gulf of Mexico does not suffer from having “too much” variety in it. Once you’re assigned to a job, and have flown that contract for awhile, you’ll essentially figure out the routine and settle into a nice pattern. The only time that really gets broken up is when a pilot elects to “work over” and make some overtime pay. It is when this happens that we find our variety. Today was one of those days for me, as I’m working over for two days. I was tasked with flying my first ever turtle watch flight – yes, we’re watching turtles from a helicopter and the reason why might surprise you! I totally wasn’t expecting #3….oh wait that’s a clickbait tagline. Well the reason might actually surprise you too, but never mind the clickbaity-ness of that sentence and click to read more! Damn…there I go again…
First of all I want to say thank you to everyone that’s been reading the latest posts, commenting, and messaging. Some loyal readers that had been waiting in the wings for me to start putting content back out – and some new readers! Welcome! I’ve been getting questions about certain aspects of being a helicopter pilot flying Oil and Gas in the Gulf of Mexico, so I’ve decided to field them here. The one I’ve been getting the most so far has been “What is life like off-shore?” Though my account of my current conditions are not representative of ALL platforms you might find yourself “living” on – it’ll give you an idea of what to expect.
This is one I’ve been meaning to write since I started flying off-shore. It’s a topic I get questions about from time to time, and one that is worth mentioning. What is the weather like in the Gulf? How do you plan, fly, and work with it? Now that may seem like a ridiculous question to some of the old dogs of aviation, those long in the tooth greying, bitter old bastards that have heli-bellies and retirement on the horizon – but for the younger up and coming generation of pilots these are the things that they are thinking about, asking about and interested in. So I’ll take a stab at it.
Even though I haven’t been writing for the past year and a half (give or take) I still get messages on this site, instagram, and on Facebook. It’s been a long time since I managed any helicopter pilot groups on FB so that last one is a bit of a mystery to me. Let’s roll with it. Lately, since starting in the Gulf the most common request I get is to write about what it is like to fly here, someone asked me to make a youtube video (not gonna happen for a few reasons), and now that I’m back writing again I figured this would be a good place to start.
So here we are again, a year between posts and I’m writing that I’ll do better, I’ll post regularly, I’ll stay more involved in the blog process. We’ve been here before. This past year has certainly been an interesting one, and there are a few reasons why “the roaming pilot” hasn’t been roaming much at all lately. The biggest reason of them all is that I took time off to run for U.S. Congress in Idaho. I didn’t win, but I learned a great deal, and it’s certainly given me a focus and a drive to continue on and do more.
I also took a job flying for PHI in the Gulf of Mexico, the salary and schedule are great, but there hasn’t been much time for roaming, and frankly the job itself doesn’t lend well to exciting reading, it’s not at all like being a sky pirate in the south pacific bombing around off of tuna boats.
But this blog is my passion, I love to fly, travel, photograph, and write. So here we are again, you, me, this page, my words. I’ve done a few domestic trips in the past few months, outing and localized adventures, I’ll see if I can’t breathe any life into those as posts in the next week or two.
For now, I’m looking for a WP guru to help me streamline and awesome-ize the layout and graphic design of the blog, and I’m also going to explore a VLOG/Podcast option. I’m getting the cameras out and dusted off and you should see more content from me as we go. In addition to some backdated posts I’m going to address a question I still get often from people that have read my tuna pilot guide, or my blog in general – what can we low time pilots do? I’m also going to address pilot saturation, pilot shortage, and the airlines (RTP).
One thing I’ll promise to try and do is remain neutral and focused on travel, flying and life. Though I’m more politically active now than ever before in my life, this blog isn’t the format for those views or platforms. So yeah, there we go, back to it, again! If you have any ideas for content or topics you would like me to address leave a comment below!
Being back in the United States for a bit has been fun, especially being able to spend time at home exploring my own backyard – the Pacific Northwest. A couple weeks ago I set out on an ambitious hike up Caribou Ridge to the summit of Mt. Coeur d’Alene. The rumor was that there was an overlook up there with stunning views of Lake Coeur d’Alene; what was supposed to be an easy, yet ambitious, out-and-back 9 mile hike turned into an all day, 2-3′ of snow, mountain excursion to the top of a totally grown in and obscured mountain. 14 miles and most of a day later our group finally got back to the car and went to dinner.
This set in motion the next adventure – another hike, this one to a known destination with an easy access point. After getting back from my first full hitch in the Gulf of Mexico I set out once again to blaze a trail across the Northwest, this time to Palouse Falls. Continue reading “Palouse Falls, WA (Pics + Video)”
Happy Mudders Day!
Living in North Idaho comes with many perks, we have rolling mountains and sprawling wilderness areas that will keep even the most intrepid outdoorsmen sated when it comes to an appetite for adventure. World class fishing in our lakes, rivers, and streams attract traveler from around the world – and a relatively low populations density can make it feel like you’ve got a piece of paradise carved out all for yourself.
The rest of the country doesn’t seem to get that impression of North Idaho though, our state’s wildly successful marketing of potato crops creating mental imagery of rolling farmland from border to border. Then there are those that seem to think we’re a bit “country” or a little bit “redneck”…well this weekend in Moyie Springs, we certainly lived up to that label a bit, if only for a few days. Continue reading “Moyie Mud-Bogs (Video)”
I’d just returned home from a long month in Louisiana where I’d finished my interview, training and some “work over” for the helicopter company that I’m working for now. I was looking forward to the long break because I’d been gone for so long with HeliExpo, CPAC, and Guyana – it was time to be home for a little bit. I called up my Grandfather in St. Maries and went out to spend the weekend at his place.
Having just spent the last few months in warm, sunny, tropical areas – and since it was April and in theory “spring time” I wasn’t expecting the conditions to turn south so fast on the drive home. Snow had been falling all night and into the morning, the temperature had plunged and a freak blizzard came out of nowhere. Of course, seeing as we live in the Pacific Northwest, and handle snow most of the year – the plows were still ready to roll and the roads weren’t too terrible in most places. Some areas had not been reached yet and one of those spots is exactly where I came upon an major accident moments after it had occurred. Continue reading “Freak Blizzard and the Car Crash (Pics)”
I’ve finally wrapped up my training and am flying home for a much needed 2-3 weeks of rest and relaxation before the real work begins. I booked the first flight home that made sense (time + route + stops + cost) out of New Orleans for late in the afternoon, and prepared. When I had driven down to Venice, LA for a few mentor training flights and then some actual contract work-over flying I had to go through New Orleans, and when I did I drove past the National WWII Museum.
With that still fresh in my memory, and my now booked flight not until late in the afternoon I planned on heading up to New Orleans early enough so as to arrive when the doors opened at the museum. To say that this is one of the most impressive and immersive WWII Museums I’ve ever been in would be an understatement – and having half a day simply was not nearly enough time to make my way through the entire museum as throughly as I would have liked. One this is certain, with more trips to New Orleans in my future, I’ll be returning to this museum. Follow the link for more information from their site.