Flood-weary Colorado residents need all the help they can get right now, local Hawkeye Helicopter officials said.
So the company, headquartered at 401 S. Main St., Ottawa, deployed some of its helicopter and airplane fleet to assist pipeline companies in Colorado with monitoring, assessing possible damages and other needs caused by massive flooding that hit the state, according to a Hawkeye news release.
J.D. Scott, owner of Hawkeye Helicopter, departed Tuesday in his Bell 206 Jet Ranger helicopter for Colorado, Craig Chaney, Hawkeye’s business development manager, said.
“(Scott) mobilized to Colorado in a helicopter on Tuesday and [was] meeting with clients [Wednesday] to plan flight missions and logistics,” Chaney said. “Our fixed-wing pilots have been in the area assisting clients as weather permitted.”
Hawkeye Helicopter also is using fixed-wing airplanes at its Casper, Wyo., satellite office to assist in the efforts, the release said. Chaney said the main thing Hawkeye Helicopter is doing to help the pipeline companies is provide aerial assistance to spot where pipelines have been exposed due to the flood.
“There are a lot of places out there where these rivers and creeks have cut new channels or courses,” Chaney said. “That can expose pipelines, With that, there is a lot of erosion, and that can expose a pipeline. [The companies] have to shut these systems down if they have any possibility of damage or concern of leaks until detailed ground inspections can be completed by the owner of the facility.”
The pipelines carry materials including natural gas, crude oil, petroleum products and carbon dioxide. With the help of aerial assistance, the pipeline companies can go in and correct the issue, Chaney said.
“There has been no adverse communications [on how the efforts are going so far],” Chaney said. “We were originally notified to be on stand-by on the 13th and 14th. Due to weather restrictions and the need for flood water to recede, we were held off until the conditions allowed us to move in.”
Chaney said he was unsure how long the process of checking pipelines would take.
“That is hard to say,” he said. “We will be there until our clients have everything under control and cut us loose.”
Hawkeye Helicopter is not new to such operations, according to its website.
“Routine aerial patrols are the original service provided by Hawkeye Helicopter... many of our nation’s largest gas and petroleum pipeline companies entrust us to fulfill their routine aerial patrols,” the website said.