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bluethunder

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bluethunder last won the day on January 1

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About bluethunder

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  • Birthday 02/23/1962

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    Calgary, Alberta

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  1. Aside from the Pacific Rim National Park thing (I got caught there once before too, that's another story), anyone ever land Downtown Calgary before. I have probably done so 50 times or more. On a warm evening, there can be 100 joggers, pedestrians, cyclists that hang around there watching me take off directly overhead as they stare. It doesn't matter if you depart east or west. I always laugh and tell my passengers as I spool up to wait and watch. The hats fly away and the skirts lift.
  2. Someone sent me this clip. How can you resist a nice beach 😉. https://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/helicopter-landing-on-tofino-beach-probed-1.24161059?fbclid=IwAR0kYc_ZqGFHp21bTldHAKx00AtfubhhE4oDPIFA_JiZvKpCi3oGbVaZvLA
  3. You would know my old college friend Russ Duhn?
  4. The Jim Boyd that I worked for did retire from Ontario Hydro. I think he's still living in NB.
  5. I think Wcobra is pretty close here. I came from the Lakeland camp, then buying Ranger then buying Northstar era, only to go bust and then gobbled up by Canadian.
  6. My first gig out of Canadore was with Lakeland Helicopters, originally owned by Bob Garah. Decent guy, died quite a few years back. I'm not sure how the stars aligned, but Bob got involved with both Don Plaunt (Ramsay Airways) and a fellow named Jim Boyd (Jameson Helicopters). Don's family had money, owning the Sudbury Wolves and a local radio station. Don was a criminal lawyer as well as a flaming Homosexual. His "MO" was to get young boys out of legal trouble and make them 'dock boys'. You can't make this sh*t up. Just to give a little credibility to my story, many years after I left (somewhere around early 2000's), Don picked up some strapping young lad hitchhiker and got into some trouble. They charged him with various offences and went through his history-to the point they flew to Calgary to see what I knew about him. Don never really liked me, I just wasn't his type apparently ;-). He always had followers, I hung with the the straight pilots and engineers in some barracks we built inside the Sudbury hangar. Jim Boyd had a hangar just south of North Bay (Astorville), Bob had a hangar in Tamagami, and Plaunt already had a floatplane place on Ramsay Lake in Sudbury. When I began, Lakeland had two 500C's, a 206B (Len McTaggart was chief pilot) and we were working on rebuilding a Jet III in the North Bay facility. I was doing my apprenticeship in Astorville with another classmate. They worked us like dogs, paying us little, 7 days a week. We counted the days until we had our hours in to write our exams, and I was earmarked to get back into Canadore (1983) for the commercial pilot program. Somewhere in that time Ranger Helicopters fell on some hard times and we raced to the Soo in the dead of night to get some helicopters out of there. Jim Boyd somehow weaselled his way in to Ranger via the receivers and eventually they became part of Lakeland. When I completed my pilot's license, I returned to Lakeland. I was the only guy they had at the time who could sign out the 500's. We grew from 4 helicopters to 23 in that next summer. I had a 500D out west doing survey with some big-*** gyro operated contraption that took up the whole back seat. We could not buy parts anymore. We were C.O.D. at every vender. I got tired of it in 84, gave two weeks notice to Plaunt and left. Later that year, Lakeland took over North Star and maybe one other. It was a train wreck. When I Left, I went to Calgary and worked construction. They opened a base in Calgary the year I left, and hired me periodically to help. It all came to an end one day. Too big too fast?? They had a lot of inexperienced guys like me trying to run a big operation. I think Plaunt's funds ended and Canadian absorbed the whole works. Gosh, I thin k of some of the old hands there. Doug Whiting, Ian Cunningham, Andre Vandre, Sylvain Seguin, Joe Crawford, Ray Schill just to name a few............sorry for the long response Potsey, but you asked! Plaunt was a pice of work who knew sh*t about helicopters. He knew how to manipulate money off his old man is my best guess.
  7. Rich, when did you work for Lakeland? I worked for them as well in the early 80's. Bob Garah was a decent guy, but the strings were pulled by Don Plaunt by the time I came on board. We went from 3 helicopters to about 23 in 1983 or 4.......then it all hit the fan, I went through flight school with Craig Huisson as well. Sorry to take away from the loss of a colleague here. RIP Rob.
  8. I just got word today that another Canadore classmate passed away after a short illness. A short while ago we lost our classmate Hugh Andrews, this morning it was Herb Johnston. Here is a note his wife sent me today. Herb could make us laugh like no other in college. It's pretty evident his son Brook has the same sense of humour as the old man!: "Hello, this is Angella . We have some sad news to share about Herb... He passed away early this morning . I have attached the lovely note our son Brook composed to honour Herb's memory. Herb Johnston passed in his hometown of Almonte on November 19th, with his wife and best friend Angella close beside him following an aggressive case of cancer. Herb was one cool customer. He flew helicopters and planes, sailed boats, played guitars, travelled the world with his family, and selflessly dedicated his life to providing for his eternally grateful wife Angella and son Brook. He was a hard-working, deeply funny and loving man who, outside of a few questionable fashion choices, always did the right thing and constantly put the people he cared about ahead of himself. He and Angella met in Uranium City. She was a geologist and he was her pilot with “the same number of takeoffs as landings”. A couple years later he proposed in Nepal, followed by a mountaintop wedding outside Canmore; a fittingly unorthodox beginning to a beautiful 30 year marriage, highlighted by the birth of their tremendously good looking and suave son Brook. Herb's love will forever be felt by all of us: his parents Marina + Herb, siblings Heather + Paul, and a coast-to-coast network of family, friends, and fellow pilots. Instead of flowers or donations, you can best honour Herb by living with his same sense of adventure: get outdoors, take that trip, listen to some Bob Marley and pursue the passions that give you the most joy out of this life — the same way he always did. " One love, Angella and Brook, this is Angella . We have some sad news to share about Herb... He passed away early this morning . I have attached the lovely note our son Brook composed to honour Herb's memory. Herb Johnston passed in his hometown of Almonte on November 19th, with his wife and best friend Angella close beside him following an aggressive case of cancer. Herb was one cool customer. He flew helicopters and planes, sailed boats, played guitars, travelled the world with his family, and selflessly dedicated his life to providing for his eternally grateful wife Angella and son Brook. He was a hard-working, deeply funny and loving man who, outside of a few questionable fashion choices, always did the right thing and constantly put the people he cared about ahead of himself. He and Angella met in Uranium City. She was a geologist and he was her pilot with “the same number of takeoffs as landings”. A couple years later he proposed in Nepal, followed by a mountaintop wedding outside Canmore; a fittingly unorthodox beginning to a beautiful 30 year marriage, highlighted by the birth of their tremendously good looking and suave son Brook. Herb's love will forever be felt by all of us: his parents Marina + Herb, siblings Heather + Paul, and a coast-to-coast network of family, friends, and fellow pilots. Instead of flowers or donations, you can best honour Herb by living with his same sense of adventure: get outdoors, take that trip, listen to some Bob Marley and pursue the passions that give you the most joy out of this life — the same way he always did. One love, Angella and Brook, this is Angella . We have some sad news to share about Herb... He passed away early this morning . I have attached the lovely note our son Brook composed to honour Herb's memory. Herb Johnston passed in his hometown of Almonte on November 19th, with his wife and best friend Angella close beside him following an aggressive case of cancer. Herb was one cool customer. He flew helicopters and planes, sailed boats, played guitars, travelled the world with his family, and selflessly dedicated his life to providing for his eternally grateful wife Angella and son Brook. He was a hard-working, deeply funny and loving man who, outside of a few questionable fashion choices, always did the right thing and constantly put the people he cared about ahead of himself. He and Angella met in Uranium City. She was a geologist and he was her pilot with “the same number of takeoffs as landings”. A couple years later he proposed in Nepal, followed by a mountaintop wedding outside Canmore; a fittingly unorthodox beginning to a beautiful 30 year marriage, highlighted by the birth of their tremendously good looking and suave son Brook. Herb's love will forever be felt by all of us: his parents Marina + Herb, siblings Heather + Paul, and a coast-to-coast network of family, friends, and fellow pilots. Instead of flowers or donations, you can best honour Herb by living with his same sense of adventure: get outdoors, take that trip, listen to some Bob Marley and pursue the passions that give you the most joy out of this life — the same way he always did. One love, Angella and Brook
  9. I was doing the same kind of work in 1984 (inertial nav), my last gig in the business. I was wrenching with Lakeland back in those days. I got to work all night since the chopper flew from sun up to sun down. A 500D on the Prairies. Some 'big-***' gyro operated box in the rear compartment that use to take an hour to get spinning before you could lift off. I'm betting an iPhone could do the job of all those gyros now
  10. Then I might have met you coming through Regina in the early 80's with a 500D (Lakeland). You worked for Trans Canada?
  11. Canadore Bush Camp, White Lake. 1984..........some good times had there as well.
  12. I finally found this shot from our Canadore days back in '83/84. RIP Hubert!
  13. Now that's funny..........it was me that had to go so we had to cut it short!
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