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Thread: Anjigaming Lake w/Air Dale

  1. #11
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    I've put a lot of time in those old aircraft doing survey work, fires and enforcement patrols. And yep, man hasn't lived til he experiences taking off in an overloaded Norseman on a hot day. There's not a body part on the pilot that isn't pulling, pushing, cranking and yanking just to get that thing up on the step. The twin Beech is a bit different but once off the water they're just another a/c. Probably the most unique flying experience is in the Bell 47 but chances of anyone nowadays getting up in one is fairly slim. If you ever get the chance you gotta grab it. I could go on for hours with war stories of first hand experiences in those old machines but that's for another day.
    I'll add this tidbit though because its about the piston otter. Our crew left south Porcupine one evening to work a fire outside Chapleau. I was dozing off when the pilot gave me a poke and said for me to watch that pond below us. 5 minutes later we were still overtop the same pond and he said we'd been in the same spot for about 15 minutes now all because of a headwind. We ended up flipping back to s. Porky and driving to Chapleau by truck.
    Last edited by sawbill; June 6th, 2020 at 05:53 PM.

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  3. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sawbill View Post
    I've put a lot of time in those old aircraft doing survey work, fires and enforcement patrols. And yep, man hasn't lived til he experiences taking off in an overloaded Norseman on a hot day. There's not a body part on the pilot that isn't pulling, pushing, cranking and yanking just to get that thing up on the step. The twin Beech is a bit different but once off the water they're just another a/c. Probably the most unique flying experience is in the Bell 47 but chances of anyone nowadays getting up in one is fairly slim. If you ever get the chance you gotta grab it. I could go on for hours with war stories of first hand experiences in those old machines but that's for another day.
    I'll add this tidbit though because its about the piston otter. Our crew left south Porcupine one evening to work a fire outside Chapleau. I was dozing off when the pilot gave me a poke and said for me to watch that pond below us. 5 minutes later we were still overtop the same pond and he said we'd been in the same spot for about 15 minutes now all because of a headwind. We ended up flipping back to s. Porky and driving to Chapleau by truck.
    That is hilarious. I worked for MNR Fire out of Ignace in 1986/87. My puke bucket story was being flown back to camp after a couple of days off (drinking and fishing) in an old Bell helicopter. Not sure if my buddies and the pilot had a bet but after the 3rd steep banked turn I let'er go. I was never so glad to get on the ground.

    Back in the 80's, when the MNR had a budget, they had all kinds of toys.......Otter, twin Otter, Bell, Beaver. Not sure if they could even pay for the fuel/maintenance for them now.

  4. #13
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    Sawbill is right about the Norseman. If you haven't been in one you got to get to Red Lake and go for a ride before there's none left in service. Battered plywood floors soaked in oil and whitefish slime from flying out whitefish gill netters. So loud you can't hear yourself scream. Oil soaked cowling and a fine oil spray on the windshield. Rattling and banging and no gd heat from the cabin heater.
    I remember getting flown in by the mnr pilot to do a trap net survey., They flew us in with a turbo Beaver and he landed us on a tiny lake that was barely 1km long. The weather socked us in and what was supposed to be a 10 day run had turned into 14 days. We ran out of food and had to use the gill nets to catch trout to eat. Dry fish with no butter or salt for four days. We ended up bush wacking up a small mountain and used a copper throw-up antennae to finally reach someone to find out when the hell we were getting picked up. Turns out there was a big fire flap and all the planes had been sent to Wawa and the Soo. They told us don't worry we'll get you out today. It was glass calm at 7pm when we heard a plane finally. I didn't hear no whine so I knew it was something piston coming to get us. All of a sudden we see this tiny Found on edos come scorching over the treeline. No circle pass and the pilot almost stalls it coming in. He's too steep and his float tips catch a tiny bit when he spanks down and a wall of water sprays over the cowling. I almost soiled myself watching it happen. The dude taxis over to us then cuts the engine and jumps down onto the float. We notice the plane has a slight list and we soon see why. He opens the float bung and starts using a hand bilge pump to pump out his leaking pontoon. He yelled at us that he can only take us out one at a time and we'd have to leave all of our fisheries gear in a cache (nets, motor, gas tanks, etc). He screamed at us to "hurry up before I f$$#ing sink boys". We stashed the gear and now it's almost dark. I told my buddy to go first. I watched on shore as the pilot taxied all the way across the lake and almost run it ashore in a small back bay. Then I hear the roar and I watch him clear 75% of the lake and still not up on the step. I almost crapped myself. He taxis back over and every second word out of his mouth rhymes with "buck". My buddy is silent in the copilot seat and his face is as white as a ghost. The pilot screams at me to hold the wing tip to keep the wing from smashing into the cliff rocks. He orders my buddy out onto the float to pump the pontoon so we won't sink. He then disappears into the plane and comes out with another pump. He proceeds to pump the av gas out of his plane, directly into the lake. He pumped a good 15 mins so god knows how much he removed. We get absolutely eaten alive and it starts to rain. There's now a gas slick as far as we can see. On his second attempt he got her stepped pretty quick then he lifted at about halfway down the lake. I watched in horror as they approached the far treeline with no altitude, then at the last second the plane cranked up and cleared the trees. 50 mins later he came to get me and you could barely see the shore of the lake in the dark. I literally cut my underwear off with my Buck knife when we got back to the truck. We had taken a heavier load and as we were approaching the drop point he throttled it back. I swear we dropped 400ft in about 3 seconds and all he said was "geez I didn't think we were that heavy". Had we been lower we surely would have crashed. I swear I had a piece of stool come out of my body, touch my underwear, then climb back into my body. I remember we told the MNR pilot what had happened a few weeks later and he told us we were full of crap. I remember I almost pissed myself laughing when I finally got back to the air hangar dock because my buddy had smoked literally 3/4 of a pack of Players Light darts in the two hour wait. We hugged and almost wept when we were reunited. I hope that SOB isn't still flying today!
    Last edited by Fenelon; June 24th, 2020 at 06:14 PM.

  5. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenelon View Post
    Sawbill i I hope that SOB isn't still flying today!
    What's the saying......There's old pilots and there's bold pilots. But there's no old, bold pilots.
    Great story Fen. I can relate to the entire scenario so I'll pass along one more for you. Back in the early 70's flying aerial fire detection was in its infancy. As a matter of fact this was its second year of trials and I was doing the observing out of Sudbury a/p. We had a forester in the district who had deflected to instructing at SSFC. A big gent. He was up for a visit and asked if he could tag along on a flight and I said absolutely. So its one of those days, hot, muggy, dead calm but hot as heck with the sun beating in the cabin of the Aztec we were using. Jack was in the back, chatting away on the intercom about his days in Sudbury when we get a fire to check out. We head over to the smudge, do a few tight circuits to get all the info to pass back to HQ, then trundle on with our flight. Suddenly, we notice its very quiet in the back and soon recognize the pungent odor of barf circulating throughout the plane. Gotta love that smell in tight quarters. We carry on in polite silence, praying for that moment to land and get clean air again. As we dismount the tarmack, there's Jack, carrying one size 13, very expensive oxford shoe full to the brim with goop. He didn't realize there were barf bags in the backs of the seats.

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    Doing aerial baiting for the rabies unit out of a twin otter. 500 foot elevation so the turbulence is off the charts. The bait formulation smells like Habitant chicken noodle soup. The one kid mentioned to the pilot that he'd had a big feed of eggs and orange juice for breakfast and the pilot called the kid a GD fool. He said "boy don't you know that OJ burns in the nose when it comes up?". The baiting area was on the outskirts of Ottawa and the turbulence was so bad that you'd be sitting on a milk crate by the baiting machine one minute, then your head would hit the cabin ceiling when you hit an air pocket. Hardhats were soon issued as it got worse. The co-pilot was the first to blow chunks then it just went downhill from there. Next came the girl running the bait loader. Projectile spray hit another dude on his brown MNR coveralls then there was tandem puking. Next to go was the pilot, then another girl who managed to be lady-like and quietly hurl into the barf bag. The OJ kid puked so bad he literally went green and you swore he was going to die. Word has it that he also shat himself. The whole crew was puking so bad they didn't finish their drop grid and the machine was still dropping baits in downtown Ottawa! The one Cape Breton lad was laughing at them all and damn near pissed his pants. Must have had a cast iron gut cause the smartass was eating chunks of kolbassa and a warm can of V8 when all of this was going on. These people still gag today if they smell chicken soup!
    Last edited by Fenelon; June 24th, 2020 at 08:07 AM.

  7. #16
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    I have another peach of a float plane story, but sadly I was not there to witness it. This one comes from my one buddy who used to be a production cutter up north near Savant Lake. He and two "black" Frenchies got flown in by a piston Beaver to plot out some cut lines. They call them "black" Frenchmen cause they tan so dark in the summer they're darn near black! It's probably not politically correct these days to stereotype folks, but picture these Frenchies. They'd be tall and wiry, blue work shirt and blue work pants. Top of the workboots open with the pants stuffed in. Sleeves rolled to the elbow. Plastic pocket liner in the one pocket with two Bic pens. One blue and one black. The other chest pocket would have a pack of red Dumaurrier darts in it. They'd light one dart off the next and when they draw on that dart they damn near burn half of it down. Two fingers on the hand are usually dark yellow from all the cigarette tar. The boys got dropped at a point on the lake and they spent the day marking out cut lines. The black Fenchmen would have eaten craton sandwiches washed down with cigarettes and two cans of warm Carnation milk.
    The pilot picks them up off the point late afternoon, then foolishly gets grounded on a sand bar when they're taxiing out. He's stuck solid and the plane wont move even after he guns the throttle. He barks at the boys to get the hell out on the pontoons and try pushing with paddles. My buddy and the one black Frenchie crawl out to the pontoons and try prying the plane off the bar with the paddles. The Frenchie stops and lights up a fresh dart. A few minutes of pushing and they've made a bit of progress. Then the pilot barks "hold on boys I'm gonna giver a little goose!". My buddy knew what was coming and he quickly crawled back into the copilot spot and slammed the door. The pilot then proceeded to gun the plane to 80% throttle to get her free of the bar. All they could hear was screaming coming from outside. My buddy looked back and all he could see was this Frenchman clinging to the wing strut, absolutely soaked, with his bent dart hanging off his lip. The prop kicked up a solid wall of spray and he was holding on for dear life, cursing, with the pant legs of his blue workpants flapping in the wind. The plane finally cleared the bar and the pilot throttled back. In comes the Frenchie through the cargo door and he's absolutely foul and ready to kill the pilot. He belts out a solid two minute blast of "christ du collice du savoir du tabernaque du sabbouje du vashier du tabernaque........." with spit flying and and the veins are literally bulging out of his neck. He's so pissed off he grabs the cabin door and lifts it as he's pulling it closed to slam it. Lifting the door on a Beaver removes the door from the hinge pins, so now the plane's door falls into the lake on top of the sandbar. Now the pilot is seriously pissed. He gets the plane up on step and the Frenchmen still hasn't stopped cursing and screaming about getting soaked on the float. Without saying a word, the pilot dips the wing quickly as the plane is just lifting on takeoff and the float grabs. Literally a 200 gallon wall of solid water comes flying into the cargo area where the Frenchie sitting and it almost blasts him off his seat. He's now soaked again. My buddy said the black Frenchman damn near froze to death with the wind whipping into the plane during the 40 minute ride back to camp. He said the pilot didn't say a word. He went back with a grapple and managed to get his cargo door back.
    Last edited by Fenelon; June 25th, 2020 at 09:58 AM.

  8. #17
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    Ah, the life of a bush pilot and his crew.... Probably just a normal day for those boys
    "Everything is easy when you know how"
    "Meat is not grown in stores"

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    This one is about a chum of mine, a guy I regularly fish with. He's in his 80's now but still laughs about this one time he was invited to fly in to a lake north of Sudbury for an early season moose hunt. They spent the day on and around this lake then it being quite hot they decided there was no use hunting any further. They decided to pack it up and head out. One the way home, he and his friend get into the rye and killed most of the bottle. He suggests he was maybe a bit drunk by the time they landed back on Joe Lake, north of the city. Now, this Joe lake is one of those crystal clear water bodies we have in abundance in this area. As they taxi toward the shore he gets out on the float and grabs a rope as he's going to jump off , pull the a/c onto the sand beach and tie off. So he's watching the bottom come up in this crystal clear lake and unceremoniously steps off into 15 ft of water. And he can't swim a stroke. So after much flailing and wailing his friend eventually gets ahold of him and drags him half drowned back onto the float where they proceed to land once again, only closer to the actual shore this time.

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