Behind the scenes of Hollywood productions, diamond drilling, backcountry ski lodging, extreme sport films and much more, Nelson’s Tyhlor Kahret has been the pilot in charge of getting the job done.
Kahret is currently the chief pilot for High Terrain Helicopters where he has been flying for the past 10 years. But his entry into the industry as a helicopter pilot started much earlier.
“Just like any young kid aspiring to an exciting career, I wanted to be a jet pilot of course… but I realized that was out of reach and I got my private pilot license in small planes and proceeded to helicopters,” he said.
It was in the winter of 1970 that Kahret started flying helicopters.
“It’s been a very pleasant journey… it’s the best choice I could have ever made.”
Through working for a company out of Vancouver, which specialized in the movie business, Kahret was able to fly for many big budget films.
“My first job I started working on a very large Hollywood production called Alive, and that’s when it all started.”
As an aerial cinematography pilot, Kahret has worked in over 50 big production movies including Ace Ventura and X Men II, numerous TV commercials, as well as snowboard films That’s It, That’s All and Art of Flight.
However, Kahret said he doesn’t do film work exclusively.
“The primary work that I do is regular commercial work off this base.”
“Fighting forest fires, doing mining exploration and drilling support, med-evacs, search and rescue, tourism, backcountry ski lodge support, heli-ski, we do a lot of work around here.”
Kahret said flying for each group of clients is the same in that he’s transporting people and equipment, but the energy around the different clients is so vast.
“You go from diamond drillers to heli-skiers — what a different group,” he said, adding that each day is different.
“That’s what makes my job so cool, you come in the morning and you don’t know what you’re going to be doing all day… a lot of these bookings don’t come the day before, they come the day you’re here.”
“We never know from moment to moment during the day what’s going to happen… you have to be very adaptable to changing plans.”
Karhret said the unpredictability of the job extends beyond the flight schedule.
“There’s situations where you get scared quite regularly… in this part of the world in winter time we have some very severe weather patterns coming through… weather changes very rapidly.”
“You can’t train for that kind of stuff, it just happens, and that’s where you separate the men from the boys — the pilots that are able to keep their calm and cool and make the right decisions — because if it’s not the right decision, you don’t have a second chance. It’s pretty serious.”
Through providing his service to clients, Kahret has been able to meet and work with a wide variety of people.
“It’s very interesting to meet the high-profile people — not just in Art of Flight but in all the productions for the movies I’ve worked in — the movie and film business is a very creative industry and it’s a very spontaneous action, reaction at all times.”
Kahret said it’s amazing to work with such people for their high energy, but it can also be draining because they see the ultimate shot or the perfect picture and have no restrictions in their mind that anything could hold them back.
“Sometimes you have to pull the brakes and say ‘woah, slow down we’re infringing on safety.’ So there’s that element to be able to do that in such a way that you don’t compromise the creativity, but also that you don’t jeopardize any safety factors that need to be there at all times.”
“It’s the extreme of everything, it’s the extreme skiing, but it’s extreme flying too to get those shots. So we all work together to make it happen,” said Kahret.
High Terrain Helicopters’ next big project is flying for the Redbull Supernatural contest hosted by snowboarding superstar Travis Rice at Baldface Lodge where they will be providing all the aerials, and all the transport support for the entire event.
“A lot of dollars are being spent to support these kinds of events. A lot of people come into town and of course the offshoot of that is they all spend money… everybody gets a spinoff,” said Kahret.
The chief pilot said seeing some of the productions that he’s been a part of doesn’t affect him as much as it affects his friends and kids.
“I don’t take it like I’m a hero or anything. It’s what I do for a living… it’s just part of the job.”
“The most rewarding part of it is to go out and do a mission with a group of people successfully and when they come back they say to you, ‘that was the best experience I’ve ever had in my life.’”
“When you can bring that kind of pleasure to people that have never had the thrill of being in the mountains and flying in the mountains… it’s very rewarding,” he said.
“I can’t think of anything else that I would have rather done that would have brought me so much joy and satisfaction.”