Page - BAYARD DUPONT
Bayard Dupont comes from a long lineage of pilots. After 28 years working for his uncle at Garden Aviation, he was recruited by Enstrom Helicopter. Twenty years later, Bayard still works for Enstrom in Michigan, but every summer he uses his three weeks of vacation time to fly for Talaheim.
It started with one fateful call in 1997. Mark needed a new transmission in his helicopter. Bayard had been selling and sending him parts for years, but this call was different. “How much would it cost me if I flew you up to Alaska to help me put in the transmission?” Mark asked. Bayard’s response: “Not much.”
Bayard had never been to Alaska. He flew out to the Tal in a Beaver and landed on the river. This was way before Talaheim had built their own airstrip. “I grew up flying in Beavers, I had always loved that plane. But I remember landing on that river and thinking, is this thing going to fit on this small stream?“
Mark had warned Bayard that August in Alaska can be rainy, but on the day he pulled the helicopter apart it was a bright blue-sky day. “It was the most beautiful day,” Bayard said. “And there I was in this pristine country, doing what I love most. It beat any hanger I’d ever been in.”
In fact, Bayard still has a picture of that first day in Alaska, hanging in his office.
“When the transmission was in, I took it for a test drive and parked it on a sandbar for the night.” Bayard said. “The next morning I woke to find bear prints on the helicopter’s windshield. I was ruined from that point forward. I knew I’d be back. That was over 20 years ago.”
When asked about retirement, Bayard said this: “I’m like Mark. I’m going to keep doing what I love most until someone says I can’t.”