Monday, March 14, 2011

I survived my first helicopter convention.....

Wow a week later and I am still trying to recover from Heli-Expo in Orlando, FL.  Not because (as you might be thinking since I was traveling with Mark) of late nights and too many exhibitors' parties, but because there was just SO MUCH to learn and take in.  My head is still spinning…and I am still marveling at the magnitude of the convention and the aircraft that sat center stage and stole the show.

To the Heli-Expo, Mark and I were guests of the Dubai 2012 Heli Show.  Julia Cuthbert (co-owner) and Ahmad Abulhoul (organizer from Dubai) rolled out the red carpet for us and made us feel so at home. We also got to know Lumi Hilchey, from the Dubai Government Tourism Office, who also shared the booth with us. A big thank you to all of them for all their hospitality and support! I eventually want to visit Dubai and see for myself what is it that has inspired Mark to keep going back...

By day on Sunday and Monday, Mark and I pounded the pavement, meeting and greeting as many people in the industry as we could.  Again I spent the majority of that time trying to wrap my head around everything….debriefing, debriefing, debriefing seemed to be all I was asking for from Mark.  One thing that was not a surprise to me though was how respected and known Mark was throughout the helicopter community.  EVERYONE seemed to know him, and have a funny story to share of some kind of adventure.  It was great unique moment at one point to be sought out by Elena and Sergei Sikorsky; as his Dad- invented the helicopter...and Sergei always gets one of Mark's other "community based calendars..."

By night we dined with our Dubai team, and continued to laugh harder than we all had in a very long time.  We all met up and dined at the Peabody hotel on Sunday.  In case you are not familiar with the Peabody (which most of us were not) they are famous for a “troop of ducks” that entertain guests in the lobby fountain from the hours of 11:00am to 5:00pm, 7 days a week. After their “shift”, the ducks “parade” themselves with an escort in a red jacket - up to their $100,000 plus palace located on the hotel’s observation deck. After visiting their “castle” we were all a bit dumbfounded on what exactly cost $100, 000 as it was not much more than a 6x6 pond, but who are we to judge and it provided us with quite a chuckle.  Back at the restaurant after our tour, Mark was again puzzled as to why there was no “duck” dish on the menu. We all had to muzzle him from inquiring with our waiter.  Only Mark!!

After the conclusion of the conference on Tuesday…Mark made his way back to YYC and on Thursday headed to Edmonton to shoot some VIP (very important patient) portraits for Alberta STARS. More details in upcoming posts as to how that adventure turns out.  As always Mark is a busy guy that does not seem to stay put for more than a couple of days.  This activity puts him in yet another state or country (and weather conditions) over the past 4 weekends. At least now I think he does indeed have his wallet…or at least I hope he does.  Let’s just say I have not gotten a call to bail him out yet and like I said I am still trying to recover from last week’s festivities; so that is good!

Until next time…

Our Dubai Team (minus Mark) at the booth. 
Lumi, Ahmad, Julia, & Charli
Mark snapped a shot of myself with Sergei & Elena Sikorsky. 
What an honor!
This is it?  A $100,000 Duck Palace!
Dubai Team (again minus Mark) posing in the Duck Palace.
The Famous Parade of Ducks!


  1. Well put! Fun spending a little "couch" time catching-oops-cracking up!
    Sea ya

  2. Sounds like Charlie got bit by the aviation flu....did Mark mention it is incurable? Once it gets in your bloodstream there is no cure.