There are two types of professional pilots, there are the crisply dressed airline and corporate ones who fly between big cities in their Boeing’s and Airbus’s. And then the are the other sort! Often referred to as Bush Pilots, these are the men and women who boldly go where no sane person should!
I have met many Bush Pilots in my time, in fact for a number of years they were my main source of transportation to ferry me and my ‘stuff’ to remote parts of Northern Canada. From spinning donuts on an ice covered runway in Grande Prairie, to falling off the end of the runway in Fox Creek, to freezing my nuts off in the back of a DC3,I can say been there done that!
The one common thread was the skill of the men operating the equipment. Bush Pilots are a breed apart.
Dorcey Wingo is one of those men. He has just published his memoir The Rise And Fall Of Captain Methane, and it is a truly memorable read. You can find my review here.
I enjoyed the book so much that I just had to contact Captain Methane and invite him to do a radio interview. Dorcey was gracious and agreed to talk with me. He is as amusing and interesting as his written words.
Normally when I schedule an author interview I reserve the studio for 30 minutes, I had a hunch that this would not be long enough and went for a 45 minute program, in retrospect I should have made it at least an hour!
I have interviewed hundreds of people, but this one will stick in my mind for a very long time. Let me explain. You might recognize the name Dorcey Wingo, he was the man behind the controls of the helicopter that crashed on the set of The Twilight Zone movie set that resulted in the death of actor Vic Morrow and two young children. After 6 long years of litigation Dorcey Wingo was exonerated of any blame, but the events of that fateful day still haunt him.
I was dreading bringing up the Vic Morrow subject, but it was such a significant event in Dorcey Wingo’s career that I knew I had to. It was without doubt the most emotional segment of any interview I have ever been a part of.
Dorcey, I know that you will read this article, and I am truly sorry for making you relive that dreadful day.
The accident on the Twilight Zone set has been been told many times. The press and the legal profession had a field day, It was not about justice, it was more akin to a Salem witch hunt. Sitting in the cross hairs of the politically minded DA was one Dorcey Wingo.
Clearly distressed about the subject he told me the story. I don’t care what you have previously read or heard, his description of the events will leave you chilled.
The entire event was caught on camera, six on the ground, and one on the helicopter, copyright precludes me publishing anything, I have seen a few stills, and they show the real story. Dorcey was set up as the scapegoat!
Dorcey Wingo is no quitter, he moved on from Hollywood and became involved in what likely is one of the most dangerous jobs in the known universe Heli-logging. It makes for great documentaries on the Discovery Channel but it is an enterprise where the likelihood of ever being able to collect a pension diminishes with each load!