Chris Mitchell's favorite moment of 2016


Chris Mitchell has asked our team of writers and staff to reflect on their favorite moment of 2016. Chris Mitchell is the Managing Editor for

“We can’t find the safety harness, but the seat belt will be fine.”

Here I am, a not-small person staring at the Baxter County Sheriff’s Department helicopter which is missing a door. Inmates on work release prepare it for takeoff.  Yes, inmates.

I’m about to do the dumbest thing I’ve ever done for work. Dumb for me at least. I’m not scared of heights, I’m scared of falling out of a helicopter. I think this is a pretty wise fear, but maybe I’m biased.

The next 45 minutes are dizzying, wonderful, terrifying. You can see the photos here or watch the video above.  The lack of a safety harness turned out to be fine. The pilot, who happened to also own the hotel we were staying in, turned out to be a utter professional. A wizard capable of knowing what kind of shot I needed before I did. The lake (Norfork) turned out to be a beautiful subject. 

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