Winnipeg fights West Nile

FTLComm - Tisdale - Thursday, July 21, 2005

Andrew and I were working online this morning using voice over IP which has superior clarity and I noticed a steady sound of an aircraft near his appartment. Of course Andrew had heard the sound long before me and dashed to a window and shouted to me that there was a Bell 47 overhead.

"It sounds like I am an airport" he shouted to me through his computer connection. "Heah, I'll get a picture."

A minute or two later these
images began to appear on my screen.

Both of us doubted that an anciet Korean war vintage aircraft would be overhead in Winnipeg and I noticed the cowled in appearance and thought perhaps it was the later "J" version of the "47".

By now Andrew had noticed the spray boom and the aircraft making deliberate passes over the open field to the west of his appartment. Then we looked at the picture below that unlike the mosquito like image on the right had the markings on it and I did a very quick search and alas
Andrew's overhead noise maker

The is a Hiller UH-12E built in California in 1960. This flapping flying machine is the standard basic trainer for the United States and used around the world for a wide range of things. It can carry a crew of two and a passenger, does 90 miles an hour and can take off with its 340hp piston engine at just over 3,000 pounds and travel a distance of 316 miles.

This one is based in Chillwack and is operated by Western Aerial Applications LTD.
Winnipeg has being trying to control this years blood suckers by poisoning standing water and keep the grass cut but like the rest of the prairies this has been a pretty wet summer and the bug count in the city has gone through the acceptable limit. The disease has been detected in the city and the health officials for the province have decided that they will take every measure they can to prevent a major outbreak of the sometimes deadly viral infection.

As a virus West Nile Fever, carried by birds, is spread by mosquitoes and can cause a serious health danger to any mammal or bird for that matter. Though most people who get the disease are only seriously sick it can progress to a deadly version in horses and humans.

The spraying is not without controversy as the insecticide used can pose a risk to humans and other life forms the health authories believe that the risk is acceptable and ignoring the protesters the spraying programme is proceeding.

Timothy W. Shire

Images by: Andrew Shire


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