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Helicopter wasn’t part of pipeline project

Filming ‘beauty shots’ in Ashfield for TV program

ASHFIELD — The low-flying helicopter that “buzzed” the Town Hall on Monday night was not taking aerial photographs for the Tennessee Gas Pipeline that has been proposed through Franklin County. It was in town to film aerial footage of Ashfield and Goshen for a television program.

Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. spokeswoman Sara Loeffelholz confirmed that the helicopter was not under contract by Kinder Morgan to take aerial photos of the town, as many people in town hall Monday speculated in their annoyance at being disturbed by the low-flying aircraft’s noise.

“That was absolutely not us,” said Loeffelholz. “Typically, if we’re taking pictures, the planes or the helicopters fly at about 3,000 feet. They actually looked up the tail number and were able to track down which company that was. It looks like it may have been owned by a filming company. Again, it had nothing to do with Kinder Morgan.”

The helicopter is owned by Aerial Productions LLC, out of Norwood. The company provides service to film and media companies. The company uses Bell helicopters, with camera mounts, and has worked on such feature films as “Field of Dreams,” “Beetlejuice,” “Dumb and Dumber,” and “Mystic River,” among others.

Owner/operator Mike Peavey said he was working for a production company that is doing a TV show on “giant hunters,” and “we were shooting beauty shots that are going to be featured in the TV show.” He said they were “rolling film” while he was flying over Ashfield, to capture the beauty of the scenery. “They wanted the gorgeous Berkshires and, boy, we got it,” he said.

Peavey said he had been told that town officials in Ashfield had been notified of the filming. Later he called back and reported that apparently the Goshen Police Department had been notified that day by the production company — but not the Ashfield Police Department.

“It’s disappointing to find out that we bothered people,” he said, after hearing about the upset raised about the helicopter. “Please give my apologies to everyone in Ashfield. I apologize for the noise and for making trouble.”

On Monday evening, the Selectboard’s meeting was interrupted by the roar of a helicopter that appeared to be circling the Town Hall and village area. People speculated that the helicopter had been taking aerial photos for the pipeline project. Many of those attending the Selectboard meeting that night were there to present a petition for an article asking for town to oppose the pipeline, and were incensed by the distracting helicopter.

“When we flew over that building, I looked down at the Town Hall and said ‘Somebody is having a meeting there, and I hope their windows aren’t open,” Peavey recalled.

On Wednesday, Executive Administrator Mary Fitz-Gibbon said she had received an email sometime in April from a Jennifer Ricks of Left Right LLC of New York, stating that the group would be filming “a pair of amateur historians from Ashfield.” But no mention was made of aerial filming, she said.

Stonemason Jim Vieira of Ashfield has been collecting historic accounts of the discoveries of 7-foot to 9-foot-tall human remains found in burial sites in preparation for a book to be called “Giants on Record.” He has also appeared on History Channel specials. He has also researched pre-Colonial stone structures in Ashfield and Goshen. No one could be reached by Wednesday to confirm whether the TV program is about the finds of Bill and Jim Vieira.

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at: dbroncaccio@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

There were two helicopters: one Sunday from 5-6: one Monday: from four p.m. until after 7:00 p.m. See comments in other articles for details.

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