Experiences Flying, Fishing, and Making Functional Art - Hells Canyon Designs

by Philip Fenter March 12, 2020 2 min read

I have a great life today. I get to do the things I most enjoy which are spending time with my family when I can, as the nest is empty now, flying helicopters which are the world's most amazing machine, creating/making things and even a little fly fishing. All of these things I find are amazingly intertwined.

I fly a helicopter for a living and have Hells Canyon Designs as the side business. Flying a helicopter is a dynamic environment. You start with a plan, an expectation of what will transpire but often as things develop the plan changes. Wether changes, customers plan changes you never know. You may be flying from Idaho to Texas and plan on dinner in Albequerque, and find yourself setting down for a burger in Colorado Springs. There always seem to be ways to get where you're going but not always exactly how you planned it.

Flying is all about being able to visualize everything in a 3D space. Judging the wind, terrain and the performance of the aircraft picturing how to make it all line up so to arrive at your destination, place a load of cargo in the right spot or hit the fire line with a bucket of water in the right place.

Artwork has all the same characteristics. Your customer comes in with an idea or maybe a drawing and the plan begins. How do we get from here to there, there being what they pictured in their mind, and getting there on time. You can then start with a plan and how to accomplish it. Sometimes something happens,  a what-if moment happens and something turns out different than you thought it would. Sometimes it becomes a learning moment.... and the piece is a reject but often the piece may turn out better than you imagined.

Fly fishing is another example of going with the flow. Streams change, the hatch is constantly evolving, fish are fickle and getting that right fly to the right spot at the right time to invoke a strike is difficult but very rewarding.

I love it all. Having a happy customer is a journey where the goal is to exceed their expectations. The journey can be delicate if they don't know quite what they want or informational as you explain for the umpteenth time why you can't and won't put the Seahawks logo on their piece.

As I have learned over time enjoy the ride. It's the journey, not the destination.