In August, a respected client notified Dragonfly Exploration of a nearly mint Bell 412 that had been stored in a hanger in northern Washington State near the Canadian border at WA63. After flying out from the San Juan’s to have a look, CJ found the copter to be in excellent condition. After a brief test flight he purchased the Bell immediately and her first shakedown flight was a few miles south to R49 in Ferry county.
Intense wildfires were active in the area and CJ opted to stay in the area to see what help could be given with the 412. He didn’t have to wait long as a client contacted him regarding an immediate medical flight to the south and into Oregon. A team of about 4 firefighters, some exhausted, and 2 medics were being sent back to their base near the Columbia River with supplies. Another fire was burning in that area and they were needed there.
Of course, CJ agreed and within a day, the 412 was on her initial assignment flying through the mountains and the smoke and haze of the nearby fires. Due to her current paint job and the assignment, CJ dubbed her “Smokey.”
CJ followed WA-21 southward and skirted the edge of the North Star fire burning heavily along the whole area. The passengers were quiet as they studied the smoke and the fire line. CJ was asked to radio an update to the North Star fire HQ but otherwise the flight was uneventful with a clear day and gentle winds. CJ eased Smokey down at R49 and stretched his legs a bit.
He was happy to report that Smokey had performed solidly the whole flight.
While Duffy and a few others handled things up in the San Juan, CJ let us know that he’d be staying in the area to pick up more runs and to rub the rest of the dust off Smokey. His plans were to head west to Portland, see a friend and make a few runs in the area before bringing Smokey home to WA35.