Toss News 9 helicopter pilot Jim Gardner a can of Mountain Dew. He's a badass.
We have confirmed via the Ogle Mole Network that Gardner has been suspended by News 9 for pulling some stunts with that station's helicopter, Bob Mills Sky News 9, at the Sundance air park in Yukon. According to one source, the suspension will last for two weeks and begins today.
The details regarding the incident are a bit murky, but apparently it involved the futuristic George Jetson plane that Jim posted a pic of on July 27. I guess a video recently surfaced that showed Jim racing the plane in Sky News 9. The video has since been pulled, but I was able to obtain the following pixellated screenshot of the clip via the Ogle Mole Network:
Poor Jim Gardner. I guess he didn't know the only people allowed to race at Oklahoma airports are the guys from Street Outlaws. I hope he wore his lady helmet.
This incident was apparently a big deal to News 9 management. Even though they paid a lot of money to lure Gardner away from Channel 4 a few years ago, the word on the jet stream is that some execs wanted to get rid of the pilot. I guess it's not the first time he's done something to piss them off.
Fortunately for Jim, his name recognition and ratings draw during severe weather season were able to keep him around. I think that's a good decision on News 9's part. Now that we know Jim's crazy enough to race and perform stunts with his employer's multi-million dollar helicopter, it's a given that he won't be scared to fly directly into tornadoes and keep us advised.
Anyway, I can kind of see how something like this can happen. I think we forget that chasing storms is a tough, ultra-intense job, and that during the summer months, these guys have to get their adrenaline fix somehow. I guess that's why so many of them dress in drag.
That's why I propose that the local news channels and national weather service team together for the first ever Storm Chaser Olympics. Who wouldn't want to watch that? We could hold the event each summer in Oklahoma. Competitions could include a storm chaser obstacle course, the Gentner toss and landing your helicopter in the hangar before the hail hits. We could even have a winter version of the games that includes pulling other motorists out of ditches and using a news helicopter to rescue a fawn from a frozen pond. I'll get a committee formed immediately. Gary England will be the chairman.