Calgary Wiki

Three Calgary helicopter pilots are spending a frustrating time in the Dominican Republic waiting to help with the humanitarian operation in Haiti.

Within days of the earthquake, Graydon Kowal, president of Calgary-based Guardian Helicopters, along with three colleagues and two choppers arrived in the Dominican Republic ready to help.

Kowal said the people who are supposed to be telling his team how to help are confused and unable to make decisions: "There seems to be a lack of any kind of co-ordination."

Kowal said he was scheduled to fly a UN food official over Port au-Prince Friday morning but the flight was cancelled.

"They flew her around in a Caravan [a small airplane] the day before. Somehow they didn't want to take the helicopter," he said. "I'm not sure what you could see from a Caravan but that's how that operation went."

Guardian is a company that specializes in "long-lining," which means its helicopter pilots are capable of dropping loads into moving vehicles.

Kowal said his choppers could be doing effective relief work in Haiti.

Kowal was initially working with Red Cross/Save the Children to bring his helicopters to Haiti on contract, but grew frustrated when no decisions were being made. He rented a Hercules transport plane and flew his helicopters to the Dominican Republic, spending about $250,000 of his own money.