The story continues almost how it happened in real life. These hot shot movie producers came from New York and had never been in a helicopter over LA at night. They showed up with Hawaiian shirts because that is what they thought we would wear in LA. I showed up with my flight jacket having an understanding how the weather works in LA in April. Initially they laughed at me when I asked them if they brought any more clothes which then quickly changed. Especially in the spring it can be very mellow in Southern California on the coast but as soon as the sun touches the horizon it suddenly gets pretty cold. Now imagine sitting in a helicopter with the doors off right when that happens! You make that particular mistake only once, let me tell you 😉
Yet, even with me having that problem solved ahead of time, it still wasn’t a very comfortable flight for me. The mission was to take black and white footage of the rough neighborhoods for some sort of documentary. Having flown in the area before and knowing helicopter cops I knew that these people don’t necessarily want other people peeking into their backyard. Low circling helicopters get shot at sometimes in LA but that is another story for another time …
Just in case you were wondering: This little story here is what happened to me as a young charter pilot pretty much exactly like we drew it. The only difference is the aircraft was a Jet Ranger. I have dealt with many low budget film crews in my life and they are very hard to work with. Most of them are way too excited about their cause and they expect you to do a lot of additional stuff they didn’t pay for. And somehow a lot of them had it in their minds that a Jet Ranger would cost the same amount as a taxi cab and they are always shocked about the real price. One company I worked for learned the hard way to collect the money BEFORE we did the flights.
Working in Hollywood is not always as glamorous as it may look on “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” …
And if you are wondering why Chuck is wearing a jacket instead of his usual pilot shirt, you may need to tune in again this Friday. 😉
Did Chuck unearth his leather jacket to impress the guys from the film crew? After all, long time readers may remember that he’s been working on a movie script for almost as long as on his corsair.
Since Roost-Air is rapidly approaching their 15 year anniversary, we thought we would show you a classic strip “from back in the day” every now and then with a little background information mixed in. Some of those are from pre-website days and are otherwise only available in our first book.
I was flying off-shore at the time and transitioning to an oil-rig off the coast of California which had me transition through Santa Barbara’s airspace. The easiest route was to transition along the shoreline but the tower preferred us to be low so he can route approaching fixed wing traffic on top of us. Well, there is a little hill on the shore between Santa Barbara and Goleta where the airport is, so radio reception and radar coverage wasn’t the best. Yet the tower always made us fly low and squawk a code, but then turn around and complain he wasn’t picking us up. We tried flying further offshore and as high as we could without busting the given ceiling but it never worked quite right. So since they always gave us a really low number to squawk (maybe that is what was assigned to them, not sure how that works), the joke was born inside the aircraft about trying to get a higher number. Of course in the real world we didn’t transmit this part (even though we probably should have just for the fun of it, but I was flying for the government and we all know how much fun can be had while doing that).
This is also one of the first strips ever to use the “Chuck, is that you?” line. It was around this time we decided to just make this a permanent thing. The original idea was to always have Chuck park his pick-up in front of the hangar and Julio complaining about it with the standard line “Move the truck, Chuck!” which is based on a true story. But we could never really fit that in the strips as much and once the radio issue idea came to be we felt it was a much better fit and quite frankly, way funnier. One of my personal biggest wins was the first time I sat around a air tanker base with a bunch of pilots I had never met before a few years later. Somebody messed up on the frequency and a pilot in the ready room yelled out “Chuck, is that you?” which got everybody laughing. I knew then we were on the right track with this punchline and that is why you still see it. The next goal is to achieve notoriety similar to “I’ll be back”, HAHA!
It’s that time of the year again where Chuck sneaks out so he can be at the international Heli-Expo. Of course in true Chuck-fashion, he will have to sit in every helicopter on display there to check it out and collect all the helicopter pens he can carry.
Do you guys think Hans told him to go out and buy a new helicopter for Roost-Air?
If you happen to be in Orlando this week, stop by and visit with our friends from “Vertical Magazine” at Booth 5828. They have free helicopter posters and you might even find a comic about Chuck in their free Show News not yet seen online. Sometimes they even have beer there (remember, no flying afterwards!).
Paperwork and aviation, my favorite topic! 😉
The company I used to work for had a whole library full of helicopter log books and that was only for a few helicopters they owned and a few more for helicopters they maintained. On top of the maintenance logs you have log cards for each critical component. A log card is kind of like a birth certificate for the component, when it was born, when it was installed, removed, overhauled, reinstalled … you get the point. And as you can imagine, there are many “critical” components on a helicopter.
My favorite part was when we overhauled and US certified aircraft that came in from Japan. Some of the logs were in Japanese, some in English, many in some strange language hybrid in-between. On top of that, getting the dates right was more complicated since some of the logs used a Japanese calendar. We had many people involved in this with mountains and mountains of paperwork. So, not only would the aircraft not take off, in some of them you couldn’t even physically put all of their paperwork inside of them and still close the doors.
This seems something that wasn’t mentioned to me when I first became fascinated with aviation. 😉
Oh, and in other news! We’re having a contest! Check it out HERE!
Well, I guess Mike could write more about power line survey flights than me, but he’s flying right now. Not in a helicopter, but in the passenger seat of an airliner. But I guess that doesn’t exactly minimize the risk of having somebody with smelly feet around. Plus, on airliners, people even take their shoes off too!
Anyway, on to more serious stuff. I’ve been thinking about commenting about the shooting in Paris, because we’re usually not big on political stuff here. But it’s very sad that, just a couple of day after I write about empathy and understanding, and how people and groups are pitted against each other, the terror incident in Paris happened. As a cartoonist, it hits close to home.
People who commit such acts truly have very, very narrow minds and I feel pity for them. Not as much as for the victims, by far. But if you end up in a place like those murderers, your life must suck pretty bad.
Norway did such a great job after the Breivik shootings in NOT reacting with a police state reflex, and keeping an open society and upholding their values. I sure hope the French and all other Europeans can follow their example.
When I heard the news, I instantly felt really, really angry. But we need to be careful who we direct our anger against and not not fall into the „us vs. them“ trap. Of course, the murderers should be brought to justice and contemplate their actions behind bars for the rest of their lives. But we need to approach the underlying problem, which, in my humble opinion is a lack of education and love, and the bad childhoods that form monsters like that.
Violence breeds violence. But philosophy can prevent and cure fanaticism and peaceful parenting can prevent the emergence of psychopaths.
Love and peace!
I am sure it was really hard for Julio to admit to Chuck he needed help. I guess we’ll see if Chuck brings up this moment in the future. I wouldn’t put it past him.
I got myself in all kinds of tight situations back in my mechanic days. What didn’t help was the fact that I am a short and skinny guy. So whenever it came to somebody having to climb into an airplane tail or helicopter tail-boom, it somehow always ended up being me. I don’t remember actually getting stuck but I got close to panicking a few times, HAHA.
And then there are the airplanes for which you have to be triple-jointed for to work on them. The worst plane I have ever worked on was an air-conditioned Cessna Skymaster with retractable gear. Try changing a vacuum pump on the rear engine on that sucker! This might be where Julio’s disdain for Skymasters comes from (we might never know).
What’s the worst aircraft fixing experiences you guys have had? And other nightmare planes out there?
And the mug goes to …
William Vergonet! (Boy, I hope I spelled that right)
Thanks for playing, guys! We’ll have another contest soon. I think it’s great that a mechanic won the Julio mug! The runner up and winner of the CW book is Adam Jacobs. Please write us a PM or email with your address and we’ll have the prize to you in no-time!
Speaking of Julio, this is another of my favorite strips because it’s very relate-able and I may or may not have lived this moment in my aviation career (strongly leaning towards “may”).
People who know me know that I used a Muppet Show ring tone for certain individuals and a company I used to work for. We also used to listen to music while working with Panaca Jane and even had dedicated playlists for going to a fire, returning to base, or recons for example.
Of course Chuck, being the aviation movie fanatic that he is, has to play “Ride of the Valkyries” every time he goes out flying the helicopter. I’m guessing it’s followed by “Fortunate Son” and “Paint it Black”….
Which songs do you guys think are on his Fixed Wing playlist?
For those of you who haven’t heard about this: The company “Eurocopter Group” has recently been renamed “Airbus Helicopters”, probably as a so called family brand strategy, a step which has been widely discussed in the helicopter world.
This re-branding has to be one of the most confusing ones I have ever seen. You take a name that perfectly signifies a gigantic airplane, a “bus in the air” so to speak, and you use it to sell small helicopters. Imagine how much they must have spent on new letterheads and signage?
I wouldn’t be surprised if the price of their helicopters just went up … 😉
We were thinking of re-branding “Chicken Wings” as well. What do you guys think of “Strasser Entertainment” to more accurately reflect our “family brand”?