The Heli Pilot: Nik Suddards

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Nik Suddards

NIK SUDDARDS

AGE:

45

HOMETOWN:

Juneau, Alaska

TITLE:

Commercial helicopter pilot

HEIGHT:

5'10"

WEIGHT:

180 lbs.

YEARS IN THE BUSINESS:

14

SPECIALTY:

Part meteorologist, part artist, Suddards assesses the weather and flight plan, and decides whether the chopper goes up or stays put. He also talks shot lengths and angles with the film crew while scouting. "I fly the camera, not the helicopter," he says.

BIG BREAK:

Suddards first got airborne in 1976 while enlisted in Britain's Royal Air Force. Once Stateside, he scored a gig as an aerial-camera pilot for James Cameron on

True Lies

-which looks pretty good on a résumé.

["Check out what the pilot flies around in."]

TOOLBOX:

The $1.5 million, French-made A-Star B2 is powered by a 732-horsepower engine and can fly at altitudes of up to 20,000 feet.

November 2005