Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Stroll Around the Heliport

It was a slow day at work today, so I decided to take a walk around the perimeter of my employer's Morgan City, Louisiana heliport. These first two shots are taken from the advisory tower.

The heliport is built on a broad peninsula, bounded by Lake Palourde on one side, and Bayou Boeuf on two others. Here, looking northeast, you can see Bayou Boeuf beyond the heliport boundary.

Here's a view of Lake Palourde.

It's a half-mile walk around the heliport. It's a good idea to watch for helicopters. Not a good time to listen to your iPod with those Bose noise canceling headphones.

A young Cypress tree on the shore of Lake Palourde.

Hey, what's that?

It's our heliport mascot. I've been told that this gator is a female, but I didn't think lifting her tail to check was such a hot idea. She's easily eight feet long. Alligators come bigger, but she looks big to me.

Smile for the camera, Sweetie! No I'm not that close; I was zooming in with the camera.

Alligators tend to be afraid of humans. That's good. Here, she's slipped into the water and is waiting for me to go away.

One of our pilots regularly goes swimming in this bayou at the end of his work day. Sheesh, no thank you.


Uncle E said...

Wow, cool photos! How close did you get to the gator?

Hal Johnson said...

About twenty feet. That's when she slipped into the water. It was a little sobering to note how fast she moved. I thought, "she could have moved toward me.

Redlefty said...

Is the swimming pilot indicative of the normal psychological profile in your job?

Love the new banner image!

Anonymous said...

Think I'll pass on swimming with the gator, too!

My husband had an interesting encounter with a gator while duck hunting once. He has photos of where it bit holes in his boat!


debby said...

Passing on pool time appears prudent, pilot.

I'm w/ Redlefty on this one...I question the psychological fitness of the swimming pilot.

Hal Johnson said...

RL and Debby, the same pilot has about 6000 jumps as a skydiver. 'Nuff said?

debby said...

Oh. He's a nutwad.

David said...

Great pic's Hal. I like the air machine photos best.
What breed of helicopters are they?
The Bells I think I recognize. What is that in the first photo with the appendages on the side? My guess is Sikorsky.
(Remember, All I know about helicopters is that they have toooo many moving parts!)
Terrific photo in the new banner!

Hal Johnson said...

Hey David. The one in the top photo with the appendenges is a Sikorsky S-92. Two pilots and nineteen passengers. The rest are Sikorsky S76's: two pilots and twelve passengers. Twelve passengers, that is, with a short trip when we don't have to carry too much fuel.

Our Bell 412's are all gone now. I suppose I'm among the few pilots with PHI who actually misses 'em. They were slow, but they had lots of room in the cockpit compared to the S-76. A six-four guy like me doesn't get in an S-76 so much as put it on.

Bob Barbanes said...

In my thirteen happy years at PHI I don't believe I ever spent more than a week at MCY. Don't know why, luck of the draw, I guess. And actually, I never liked flying out of that base because it took so dang long just to get to the "beach" - sometimes 20 minutes in the slow Bells I was flying. And then you *still* had the overwater portion of the flight to the destination platform or rig.

But nice pics! A clear, cool day? Almost makes south Loozyana look bearable and pretty. But get back to us, huh, when it's summer and the temperature is 140 and the humidity is 110 and you walk outside and it feels like somebody dropped an anvil on your shoulders and sucked the air right out of your lungs. Ah yes, the things I (don't) miss about flying in the Gulf o' Mexico...

P.S. I hope that was a looooooong zoom lens and not the el-cheapo digital zoom like on my camera - your job is dangerous enough!

Hal Johnson said...

Rest assured, Bob: I was using a ten-power zoom.