Drawing in gigantic hangars on top of helicopters

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Drawing in gigantic hangars on top of helicopters or on the runway of Aberdeen Heliport has been one of the most exciting environments I have been exposed to. 

Initially this environment overwhelmed me, dressed in my Hi-Vis safety vest and hard hat and walking into one of the gigantic hangars filled with variously stripped helicopter bodies, rotor heads, gearboxes, engines and rotor blades, I did not know where to start first.

I spent many weeks in the company of the engineers, mechanics and electricians, joining in with coffee and lunch, whilst discussing the key phases of their job carried out on Super Puma and Sikorsky helicopter crafts.

The rotor head that joins the blades to the shaft was referred to by the workers with the Scottish word ‘beanie’, as it resembles a little red hat.

I liked that, so I captured the work ‘mounting the beanie’ in action, and developed an etching and oil painting from the sketch. 

I went on to sketch all aspects of the helicopter services industry, from flying, maintenance, repair and overhaul, to the passengers and pilots travelling to and from the ships and platforms that make up their offshore workplaces.

Northeast Journalist Neil Drysdale wrote:

A local artist has finished the first part of an ambitious project to highlight the importance of helicopters in Aberdeen life.

Kate Steenhauer was given unprecedented access to the ubiquitous north-east vehicles by leading helicopter company CHC.

And we can show you some of the results of Kate’s unique venture to breathe life into these Sikorsky and Airbus craft as part of her “Heli Galore” venture.”

Kate, the principal engineer of marine consultancy Tymor Marine, is in thrall to the men and women who have journeyed to the North Sea, and has previously breathed flesh and blood into the myriad characters who populate Aberdeen Harbour.

She mixes the complexities of her day job with the intricate precision of sketching out her art ventures.

And the results have a mesmerising quality for those who live in Europe’s oil capital.

See STV press article: