Mixing maintenance and flying
Falsnes reflects on a life around planes

Glen Korstrom
Northern News Services

INUVIK (Feb 26/99) - When Beau Del Air director of maintenance Olav Falsnes looks back at his more than 40 years of flying, he remembers many adrenaline-charged incidents.

One escapade took place at the Peel River ferry crossing. The river had risen from heavy rain and the steel stakes that workers tie ferries to weren't as visible as they are supposed to be.

"One of these steel pegs had gone through one of the floats on the back," Falsnes says.

"I taxied out and quickly began to feel that the airplane's tail started to get lower and lower, tilting more into the water."

At the same time, waves started getting big and he realized he was in trouble so he taxied toward the shore.

Wind caught his tail and swung the plane around a couple times as the tail sank in the water.

Finally he got to the shore and passengers jumped out to help push the plane safely onto the land.

As far as the job goes, Falsnes says he likes the diversity of both maintenance and flying, with the flying part being enjoyable because, "you meet a lot of people closer so it has that advantage and you get to go to all the hot spots in the country."

His career has taken him to more cold spots than hot ones, however.

And exciting incidents such as the Peel River fiasco have happened occasionally throughout his 17 years in Inuvik, as well as his time in Yellowknife, Thompson, Man., and Cambridge Bay.

"My job is to oversee that the work is done and that it is done properly so I monitor all that," the 55-year-old new grandfather says.

"A lot of times I'm gone all day flying and we do most of our maintenance work in the evening."

Outside of work he helps his wife Judi with their Arctic Chalet business and their Delta Auto Rental business.

Falsnes likes to go Ski-Dooing and he says Judi sometimes follows him on the Ski-Doo with one of their two dog teams.

"Every year has been a good year. For me I like it, I like the country and the wilderness part of it. It's just my kind of country," he says.

The only hunting he does is with a camera -- and he has many still photos and videos of the land, animals and birds.

Otherwise, the Norway native likes hiking and cross-country skiing.

He and Judi have four children: Carl, James, Oliver and Sonya.