I had been flying in the Gulf of Mexico transporting material and personnel for a few years flying for Conoco in West Delta, block 45. A construction project was underway to remodel the living Quarters and replacing handrails that had corroded with constant exposure to saltwater. One of my duties during this remodel was to bring out welding crews in the morning and taking them back to shore at the end of the work day.
One Welder’s Helper was always the first to the helicopter to each morning and every evening. On each trip he would watch my every move with great intensity for the 18-minute flight. This went on for almost two weeks. One morning after we had landed on the platform, he looked at me and said, “You know Mike, I have been watching you every morning and evening for almost two weeks now. I think I can fly this thing too.”
I smiled saying, “You have been watching me pretty close, but do you really think you can fly a helicopter just by watching me?”
The Welder’s Helper said, OH. Sure. I watch the welder all day long and he says I almost ready to start WELDING.”
I replied, “Well, if you think you are ready. I’ll leave the keys under the seat for you so you can take it for a spin later.”
The Welder’s Helper smiled and gave me a thumbs-up, then left to do his work. The rest of the day I listened for the sound of the helicopter starting. When we headed back in that evening, he never looked at me. I thought that it might be because he was scared to admit that he had chickened out for trying to fly the helicopter, but then it dawned on me, he was mad at me for not leaving the keys under the seat. I didn’t have the heart to tell him the helicopter doesn’t have keys.
On You Tube today you can learn how to do many things. I would not suggest watching You Tube to learn how to fly a helicopter. Flying for me is hours and hours of boredom accented by moments of sheer terror. Watching the hours and hours of boredom does not prepare you for the moments of sheer terror. Trust me on that one.
I hope you enjoyed this little true story. It always brings a smile to my face when I recall it. Remember, Follow and Likes keep beans on the table. Thank you for your support.