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FOLLOWING GOLIATH I had the exciting opportunity to embed

myself on two helicopters during the Heli-Expo Fly In. One was the Erickson Aircrane, and the other was an Air Methods EMS equipped EC130 which was piloted by the American Eurocopter VP of Flight Ops & Training, Del Livingston. Although the journeys of each heli- copter were interesting, the giant orange Erickson S64 Aircrane, also know as Goliath, was of par- ticular interest. The reasons for wanting to follow the

“crane” into the show are many. Logical reasons might include the fact that it’s one of the star helicopters of the show, as well as to witness how the Aircrane’s size creates a massive challenge just getting it into the building. Perhaps a less obvious, but more selfish reason is the fact that I have never had the chance to fly on the crane, not to mention it’s a damn cool helicopter! Bragging rights have to count for something! Because of the sheer size of the helicopter,

pre-flight of the crane was a team effort and required coordination of all 3 crewmembers (PIC, SIC, Crew Chief) and took nearly 30 minutes. Once the team gave me a passenger brief and introduced me to the center cockpit jump seat, the entire team began the pre-start and start-up checklists. I was given the option to sit in the aft facing pilot seat, but opted for the center jump seat for the great views both fore and aft. For many years I have been flying helicop-

ters that virtually start themselves, so except for some of the manual processes during start up, getting the crane up and running was straight forward. The largest impressions made upon me

were really more physical than anything.


the cockpit is really high in the air. Second, that big six-blade rotor head really pushes the fuse- lage around during start up. On this day, David York, a VP with HAI

has shed his shirt and tie and is controlling the departures from Showalter ramp at

the KORL

airport. Once David gives us the thumbs up, we know the heli-spot at the Convention Center is clear and we are contacting KORL ground con- trol for taxi. As we roll out to the hold short lines just shy of the runway, we contact KORL tower and they clear us for the Expo Departure. Fifteen minutes later we are contacting Expo Ground on 123.05. Expo Ground indicates the LZ is clear and we begin our approach to the big white H at the convention center. In

classic big-ship-long-line-utility-pilot

form the crew flies the approach to a 100’ hover and drops in precisely on the spot. Once on the ground, the HELI-EXPO ground controller does a hand off of sorts and points us in the direc- tion of our parking spot where an Erickson crewmember marshals us out of the way.


Flying the crane from KORL to the con-

vention center was the easy part. Now is where the work really begins. In a timely manner, four of the six blades must come off for the crane in order to fit through the doorway. I laugh to myself over the simple irony of the “ground crane” being hired to remove the blades from the “air crane”. Following two hours of labor by the


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