Helicopter called in to dry Redskins’ waterlogged fields

August 2, 2013

The city of Richmond called in a helicopter to dry the fields at the Redskins’ training facility Friday morning. (Mike Jones/The Washington Post)

RICHMOND – After two straight days of torrential rains, the fields at the Redskins’ Bon Secours training camp facility are a soggy mess. And so, the city of Richmond called in a helicopter to dry the two practice fields.

Early Friday morning, Redskins senior vice president of operations Lon Rosenberg inspected the fields at the facility and found extremely soggy surfaces. He placed a call to Richmond official Jane Ferrara for some help.

“He said the fields were drenched from all the rain yesterday, and they were looking for a way to get them dry very quickly,” said Ferrara, chief operating officer of economic and community development. “One of the tricks of the trade is to bring in a helicopter to come down on the 50-yard line and blow-dry the fields. I immediately got on the phone to call the people I know in the community. Everybody wants to help the Redskins, everybody wants the camp to be successful. So Whit [Baldwin], at HeloAir was ready to come in and help us at the turn of a dime.”

Fifteen minutes after getting the call, Baldwin, the president of HeloAir, had a chopper in the air.

The company met the request for no charge.

“We’ve dried football fields, baseball fields, soccer fields, we even had a chance to dry the parking lot at Charlotte Motor Speedway,” Baldwin said. “This is not an unusual request. This is built very well, and there’s a lot of drainage. But we’ve had so much rain in central Virginia in the last month. But this will get it dried out for practice today.”

The plans for the training facility call for the eventual construction of a practice bubble, but it’s unclear when that project will begin, or be completed. The Redskins have an eight-year deal with the city of Richmond to hold training camp at the site.

The chopper hovered over the field for 34 minutes and then took off.

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.

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What’s ahead:

● Friday’s practices are at 10 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. Saturday’s Fan Appreciation Day begins at noon. If you’re headed to Richmond, check our our guide to training camp for tips on getting autographs, where to park and things to do after the session is over.

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Redskins video and training camp photo gallery

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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