What is up with all the helicopters in Nelson? How come there is a big H in the middle of the field? Does it stand for Hello and welcome to Nelson?
The good thing about Nelson is the cute staff at High Alpine Air and its close proximity to the bar.
Thanks for the 'heads-up' on this. Let me begin by offering my apologies for the situation here . I assure you, you are preaching to the choir on this topic. I am the most frustrated guy at this airport, and am really hoping that sanity will eventually prevail, and we will institute a plan that is far less "dysfunctional" than what you saw here the other day. Your assessment of what we are dealing with at CZNL mimics mine (thanks for the affirmation!) and echoes the opinion of EVERY professional pilot operating here, fixed-wing and rotary alike, with the exception of one. Please, don't let our current situation keep you (or anyone else) from coming back; we really do have a gem of an airport here .
Allow me to try and explain the situation. Bear with me as there's quite a bit to it:
Last year, we had a major problem with a new helicopter operation starting up here in Nelson after they purchased a hangar that happens to be surrounded by fixed-wing equipment. They also have a fuel tank that they use to refuel the heli-operators during fire season. The "H" for the helipad has been placed in the middle of the airport, and amidst all the fixed-wing tiedowns: This is the original error, and the crux of the current problem. The 206 and Llama helicopters they actually operate are not a real problem as the wash from these machines is acceptable. However, when they started bringing in 212 and 214s, the situation changed, and our equipment took an absolute BEATING. In one case, one of our 172s was ripped right out of the ground (tied down in cement rings) and spun 90 degrees!! We suffered major damage to one of the flaps that had constantly been exposed to the wash from these bohemoths landing right beside (less than 20 feet) our airplanes. Attempts to deal with the operator were completely rebuffed, and culminated in an assault, and threats of further physical violence . We needed to get a plan in place to deal with this situation so these problems would not continue to occur every summer.
I appreciate the need for this operator to sell fuel, and naturally, we all want the revenue from the equipment using the facilities here in Nelson. After just fighting a battle to keep our airport open, I know how important the $$ factor is. These issues were all in my mind when I submitted a plan to deal with the situation that had the itinerant rotary relocated to the periphery of the airport (where you were instructed to park, and correctly surmised had been a rotary base), and to re-position the "H" to directly in front of the Helicopter hangar (where the only ones suffering damage from the equipment operating would be those reaping the profits from said operations- seems fair), additionally eliminating the added problem of a charged fuel hose laying across an active taxiway . This solution would have seen lots of parking for all kinds of itinerant and home-based aircraft, both fixed-wing and rotary, been VERY easy to implement, not impacted ANY operator, been logical and easy for itinerant pilots of both fixed and rotary-wing aircraft to understand (because, as you said, it is the conventional setup), and resulted in a functional, safe situation.
For whatever reason the newly appointed on-site manager (most likely the "kindly gent" you were directed by) decided on another course, the results of which you and rogerthis have witnessed. I honestly don't understand the rationale for this plan, and to be honest, it feels like an attempt to turn CZNL into a heliport. I am really trying to stay positive about the situation, but it is indeed troubling, especially now that I find it may prove to be a detriment to the 'enjoyability' and reputation of our airport. These sorts of feelings certainly don't do much to promote CZNL as the fantastic destination that it is, or a place someone may want to start a business! I'll continue to work to make the situation better. I will also bring this thread to the attention of the Airport Advisory Committee, the Airport Manager, and the on-site manager. Thanks for expressing your concerns. If you, or anyone else has any suggestions as to how I can go about changing the situation, I'm all ears!
I can only guess you're referring to me as the "cute staff"!! Cheers .
"You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can't bomb it into peace!" Michael Franti- Spearhead
"Trust everyone, but cut the cards". My Grandma.
As an ex-student of the school in Nelson, I have always been nervous and on edge when I was on a solo and I heard a helicopter inbound on the radio. Since my training I've been to a number of small airports with BOTH fixed wing and rotary operators, but never have I seen an accident waiting to happen like the one in Nelson. Clearly a compromize needs to be made in order to prevent any MORE dammage in the future.
All in all, CZNL STILL has my vote.
And Yes ALL the staff at High Alpine are cute, not just the red head
I slept in my airplane at Wiarton enroute to Camp Borden in 1988. Wiarton was an awesome place place, nice and quiet, with nice friendly bunnies chewing on my tie downs in the morning...Guido wrote:Wiarton and Stratford are two of my favourites...
how about chapleau, wawa, thessalon, bar river, gore bay, tobermory, hanover, collingwood?
i probably spelled thessalon incorrectly
Qualicum for the best pie ever,Chilliwack pie is beige.
Friday Harbour if you want to see how a small airport can attract commerce and money into a small community .
Marsh Harbour Bahamas bring your flip flops and
Whiskey Key Bahamas for those who enjor LONG x-country flying