Letter of Recommendation

Dear Ron -

You are a legend in your time, and all of us in the powerline-construction business owe you huge thanks for inventing and producing your sidepuller bracket.  The only thing wrong with your idea is that I didn't think of it myself!

I fly occasionally for Jim Woodaman, Summit Helicopter, who now has at least two of your sidepuller brackets.  For many years I pulled with a concrete block connected to the belly hook of Bell 47s and Hughes 300s.  When I joined Western Helicopters in 1972, I was introduced to my first side puller, mounted to the engine basket on our Bell 47G-3B-1s.  What a joy it was to side pull with that arrangement!

When we started using our 500Cs to do wire work, we used an A-Frame arrangement that was originally designed by Don Lederhaus (I think), and this worked quite well for us.  I've pulled countless miles with this arrangement in our 500s over the years.

Then along came your STC'd bracket in 1991.  Revolutionary!  I wish we'd purchased one back then, but I guess our management was satisfied with the A-Frame puller we were using.

Not until the spring of this year did I have a chance to fly with your sidepuller system.  It was in MD500E, N8888SD, for Jim Woodaman, on a job in Nevada.  The weather conditions were lousy, with a 30 knot + tail wind.  White caps on the cooling-water lake next to a big power plant.  Travelers all screwed up, hanging every which-a-way.  OAT below freezing.  No bubble door.

Your sidepuller saved the day!  I was amazed how easy it was to use and how accurate I could be with the 500E.  I was delighted at the way the sidepuller worked.

I take my hat (helmet!) off to you, Ron.  Thank you for bringing your system to market.  It has benefitted so many of us now, not only in being able to do the best job of pulling sock line, but also increasing the safety of the operation.  And with a bubble door, to be able to keep all the doors on as well as seats installed in the aft compartment.  Wonderful!

Finally, I really enjoyed reading your multi-page treatise on how to pull sock line.  I had to smile as I read each of your cautions and suggestions, having personally face most of them during the past 39 years of pulling sock line all over the west.  I hope that an opportunity comes up for me to sit quietly with you and share stories about our experiences in this business.  Your instructions should be required reading by all pilots getting into this business!  Excellent, Ron!

That's it for now.  I'm doing yet another pull for Summit in San Diego tomorrow morning.  The end customer is Sturgeon Electric.

Ron, I'd like to have a spare Quick Release Pin on hand.  Please tell me the cost, including shipment, and I'll shoot a check to you right away.

Again, many thanks for all you've done for us in the powerline business. 

Sincerely -


Pete Gillies, Chief Pilot
Western Helicopters, Inc.
P.O. Box 2450 (Mail)
1640 Miro Way, Hangar D (UPS, etc.)
Rialto, CA 92377
909 829 1056
909 829 2550 (Fax)