My Helicopter Flight in the Andes
Santiago – Day One
Today was one of those days I will never forget – and, yes, I’ll be telling this story forever. I was a bit nervous on whether or not I should fly in the helicopter during this trip. The weather was perfect today, so we decided to shoot our aerials, right after our overnight flight.
I did it!!!
I got in the helicopter leaving Dan and Brian behind. (The pilot said he could only take one of us). We flew over Santiago and San Fernando and then started towards the Andes. In the beginning it seemed like this was going to be a piece of cake. Then we kept climbing and climbing! The pilot tells us, “It’s a really windy day.” We are heading towards the crash site, with sheer cliffs on either side. I must say I was as scared as I have ever been.
The wind picks up. The chopper is bouncing around! We approach the crash site being careful we don’t cross over into Argentina. I could not see the memorial – only the long black rock that marks the area. We circled the top of the mountain a few times. I was scared as pilot told us the chopper was at its maximum height! I quickly told him that we got what we needed so we made off for a different part of the mountain range.
Now we’re doing the shot where we come right up to a ridge and then sweep over it, just like in the movies. It was beautiful! Then we flew lower to follow the route out. We never could find Las Maitenes. By this time I was ready to puke anyway so I didn’t care. I wanted to get out immediately!
We did shoot some images of cows, but I was not able to get releases from them! After we refueled we got some amazing sun shots and misty shots of Santiago.
The camera was incredible – perfect pictures, camera angles, and silky movement. Ron, our DP, is an amazing tech and shooter. Tomorrow we drive into the mountains. That sounds like fun!