Over 2,200 metres in the air, the world looks very different.†
"Itís a pretty cool sense of freedom...youíre in control of everything that happens and youíre up there flying like a bird. Itís pretty cool," says pilot Jeff Parker with Kootenay Valley Helicopters.†
Parker is a helicopter pilot in British Columbia. Heís only been flying for the last four years, but even as a kid Parker says he knew he was meant to be in the cockpit.†
"I grew up in Revelstoke and my father was a private airplane pilot, so I kind of grew up around the airport and stuff like that, and over the years I gradually gained a passion for aviation," he says.†
Parkerís love of the sky is shared by his boss, Wendell Maki, who says once he got a taste of flying, that was it.†
"I was going to school to be a chiropractor, and I was tree planting, and got my first helicopter ride, and I thought, well Iíd go to school and become a helicopter pilot, and work in the summer time as a helicopter pilot, and go back to school and finish being a chiropractor, and I went back for one year, and pretty much liked flying, and stayed flying for the last 24 years," says Maki.
The Weather Network's Kelsey McEwen took to the sky to see what these helicopter pilots experience.
"I can tell you first hand, there is a feeling like no other being this high up. Itís easy to see why these men love their jobs, especially when you have this view," said McEwen high up in the air.†
"Thereís something about helicopters. Itís a dynamic experience, you get to go really slow, and you get to access a lot of cooler places than you do in an airplane," says Parker.†
"Iíve done jobs where Iíve done game surveys, where weíve seen grizzly bears, and then we go and do forest fires, weíve done forest fires in the United States as well," Maki adds. "Sometimes you see terrible devastation and sometimes you get to do the best job out there where you get to fly up and down the streams counting fish and get to see nature in its best."
Itís all part of a dayís work for these two helicopter pilots, but no matter how many times he goes up in the air, Parker says itís still a rush.†
"I†wouldn't†want it any other way."