Robinson R44 Maintenance Ferry
Updated: May 22, 2019
As many of you know, I worked for Kenny Keller at Helicopter Online Ground School for a couple years after retiring from the police department. I also keep an add on barnstormers because I love ferrying helicopters. When I would head out on a ferry flight, Kenny would always remind me that they many times end up taking longer than anticipated. He is absolutely right. That is just part of it, but it is not always bad to get weathered in to a place you have never been. You get to see new sights and meet new people while you wait on the weather to clear up. I have many stories of getting stuck in neat new places for a day and making life long friends.
On this past Sunday I was asked to take this beautiful R44 from Columbus Ohio to Goshen Indiana for maintenance. In looking at the weather on Sunday evening, it looked like the TAFs across my route would be marginal VFR (visual flight rules) for the duration of my flight. Remember the TAFs are only for reference, as conditions in between reporting stations can be quite different.
What I thought was going to be a 1.5hr flight from Columbus to Goshen, ended up being 20hrs. I left Bolton Field (class D) with minimum VFR requirements and began flying on my course to Goshen. As I flew past Marysville Ohio airport, I was experiencing reduced visibility due to a misting rain and the overcast layer had dropped from 700' to 500'. I chose to land at Marysville and look at the TAFs again. Surprisingly the weather was changing in the Ohio Valley, and safe VFR weather was not going to happen again until about noon the next day!
Welcome to ferry piloting! I do not get upset, I smile and look forward to the unpredicted outcome of the day. So I jumped on my phone and reserved a hotel and used the Uber to get there. I found myself in a nice town with plenty of restaurants. I even made contacts that will help my business! So everything happens for a reason at the end of the day.
When I arrived Goshen Indiana the next day, the mechanic flew me back to Plymouth Airport and dropped me off to get my car. It is very handy having a mechanic like Chris Heiter, that is also a commercial helicopter pilot!
So at the end of a ferry flight that took a little longer, I once again have no regrets! I love my job.
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