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on his earlier intent to have more than one helicopter. A new Bell 47 G2 was purchased for $40,000 in 1959 (Petersen, Vezmar & Skinner, 2007). A third aircraft followed shortly thereafter, a Hiller 12-E. The 12-E was the most powerful of the Columbia fleet with a 345 horsepower engine and it also had dual flight controls for flight training. The dual flight controls led to one of Wes Lematta’s most innovative ideas and a staple of Columbia Helicopters to this day. Wes had sometimes struggled flying external loads in Columbia’s original three seat Hiller 12-B, which had flight


zon. Today all Columbia helicopter pilots are trained to use DVOC and it is a large part of the reason why Columbia is one of the best in the world at preci- sion external load positioning. As Wes perfected DVOC, power company work became an increasingly large part of Columbia’s business. This included not only power line construction but also power line maintenance and even meas- uring mountaintop snow depths to pre- dict future hydroelectric dam power output. 1962 was a great year for Wes Lematta and Columbia Helicopters. Columbia was named a distributor for


controls in the center seat. Flying from the center seat made it hard to see where the external load was. While on a power line construction job in 1960, Wes decided to try flying the new 12-E using the controls on the left side. He stuck his head out of the helicopter to estab- lish direct visual contact with the load. This led to direct visual operating con- trol or DVOC. DVOC is a technique by which the pilot flies looking down at the load and the ground not out at the hori-


the Hughes 269A. Wes’s brother Bill became the director of sales. Columbia also moved from the Troutdale Airport to a brand new facility, the Swan Island heliport which was just three miles from downtown Portland. Also in 1962, Wes was approached by a group of Japanese businessmen about using helicopters to do logging in Alaska. Ultimately Wes had to concede that his helicopters were not powerful enough to accomplish the task but he would not give up entirely on


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