14 March 2012

The Flying Cowboy of Canyonlands

Some years ago I participated in making a one hour documentary about the geology of the Book Cliffs in Utah for the BBC. Part of the footage was shot from a plane. To get this footage we simply went to the local airport (Price) and hired a pilot for an hour. This is not as unusual as it sounds, there is normally some crop duster, who makes a living out of private charters, although not normally for filming.

A small, elder guy, in jeans and a check shirt hobbled out, jumped into the plane and flew us up along the cliffs for an hour. The camera man who also had a pilot licence and about 50 hours of flying time kept bleating about protocol and procedure, he was clearly not a happy man. The pilot looked non-plussed by his jittery passenger.

When we landed he asked me if I was happy with his flying and I said yes, no problems. Then he took me to his trailer at the back of the airport and showed me a video cassette entitled "Arch Enemy". He asked me if I had ever seen it and I had to admit I hadn't.

So he gave it to me with a smile and said "well enjoy".

Seems that we had just been flown by Tim Martin - the Flying Cowboy of Canyonlands. Back in the days when you could do cool stuff without everyone bitching and moaning about HSE, he was a stunt pilot and his speciality was flying through the arches in Arches National Park.

Here is a taster on youtube - the guy is a legend

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