Maxim Eshkenazy and Mick Lane
RAYNE – Taking the approach of being safe rather than sorry, helicopter pilot Mick Lane and his friend Maxim Eshkenazy set off a frenzy among law enforcement on the ground here in Acadia Parish Wednesday morning.
Lane was in the process of flying a brand new Robinson R-44 chopper from its Long Beach, Calif. base to a customer in Brazil when they lost visibility while following I-10 in Acadia Parish.
In the meantime air traffic control in Lafayette lost the two-seater on radar just outside Rayne and informed State Police and the Rayne Police Department. It was reported the aircraft was looking for a safe place to land.
While Lane and Eshkenazy were setting their aircraft down in a field just off Jeff Davis Street north of I-10, police cruisers from throughout the area converged on the scene.
“We just felt it was better to set it down for a couple of hours while the fog banks got out of the area,” Lane said. “Little did we know the people around here would be so helpful and nice. The neighbor (as Lane pointed to the only house in the area) came across the road and offered to bring us to McDonalds for breakfast and then when we returned the Rayne Police were out here. I even took a picture with their Chief Carroll Stelly.”
Australian-born, Lane is employed by a Long Beach aircraft company and delivers such helicopters to earn a living. His friend for the trip to Brazil, Eshkenazy is a conductor for a California orchestra by trade and Bulgarian-born.
“Yeah I just came along for the ride,” Eshkenazy said.
Just before departing to continue their trek, Lane said the remainder of the trip through Florida and the Bahamas would take about another week and a half.