Dick Hunt's Blog

February 2, 2014

Flying !

Filed under: Current — Tags: — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 4:48 pm

by Dick Hunt,Saturday, February 1st, 2014.
I have just read, in the National Post, an account of an incredible experience by a Bush Pilot, Bob Gauchie, in the Northwest Territories in 1967.  Alone in his Beaver  plane for fifty eight days, the only life he shared was with wolves.  Finally, he was spotted by the passenger of another bush pilot as he caught a glimpse of something shiny on a remote lake beneath them and they rescued him. He had his bag packed and thumbed a ride home to his wife and three daughters in Yellowknife. He lived on and flew for another four decades.
My life in flying has been chiefly as a passenger, with enough solo time to realize the joy of flying alone in light planes.  I have flown in the Beavers and Otters, the Cesnas, Aeroncas, the Stranraer and Canso flying boats, the Harvards and other trainers and of course various modern Commercial Air Liners.  I have had the experience of flying into white out conditions and “losing my horizon”. That is when you learn to make full use of your flight Instruments.  If you don’t you can find yourself flying upside down in short order. And I have shared in the experience of helping to clean up the wrecks of large aircraft which have crashed into reefs and mountain tops  due to Pilot error. But I have never crashed a plane,  and it is too late for me to experience that.  My first ride in a plane was in 1930 at a country picnic in a “Ford, three seater” and cost me all my savings, three dollars.  I was ten years of age.
I have a profound affection for Bush Pilots and I have known a number ot them including Lawrence Ogrodnick, our great friend and generous artist. I will give him the National Post article as I know he will deeply appreciate it. He has many absorbing stories to share of his own experiences in bush flying in the far north.
When I was a boy in Victoria, my cousin Wilfred flew from Victoria to Seattle in the first float plane I had ever seen. My six year old brother Bill, (afterward becoming a very capable private pilot) said, “I want to see Attle too”. But on the very next trip to Seattle, that plane crashed at sea with the loss of all on board. Bill never lost his dream of being able to fly and his day came when he was managing a 5o,ooo Acre Cattle Ranch in eastern Alberta.  He was in his early 20’s, a bachelor and in February of a very cold winter, his saddle horse slipped on the ice, fell on his right foot and smashed his ankle bady.  He had no phone, no way of calling for help.  He managed to turn his horse loose to eat at a hay stack, crawled some distance to the shack in which he was living and suffered an ankle which quickly turned black and terribly swollen.  He did have a neighbor five miles away in line of sight. After several days with no sign of life, one of the sons rode his horse across to investigate and Bill was back in touch with civilization. The son, Jack Cody, rode his horse 16 miles across country through deep snow to the nearest phone, which took him an entire day and phoned our Dad in Calgary who sent a ski equipped Aeronca Champ out to pick Bill up.  The nurses at the hospital in Calgary were confronted with a hairy, smelly and very ill patient and with the Doctors saved Bill’s foot for future use. On the way home, same plane, same pilot, he took the controls and made arrangements to learn to fly and to buy his first plane. He soloed after three hours dual.  I later soloed, same aircraft, same instructor after two hours duaL.  We enjoyed many hours flying, over the years. Bill flew numerous neighbours (pregnant wives, accident victims, snowbound people, prairie fire patrols etc. over the years without a commercial licence and couldn’t charge for his services. But he loved what he did and was a great pilot.

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Dick Hunt's Blog

Dick Hunt's 92+ years of history

%d bloggers like this: