The BP Effect – Does it ‘Affect’ Everyone? Panhandle Helicopter’s Story

The BP Effect series is brought to you by attorneys Reich & Binstock and Seeger Weiss LLP, which are helping businesses in Panama City Beach recover losses sustained directly and indirectly from the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. They can help your business too,

So, there was an oil spill this summer, close to us, close to home.  One could argue that it effected all of us one way or another.  Many are up in arms about it, many just want people to stop talking about it.  Some are making claims to recover losses, some are making claims to make money, some are making legitimate claims and getting a run-around.  Did the BP Effect, effect everyone?  Panhandle Helicopter didn’t seem to be concerned with the “catastrophe” that had droves of people and businesses down over the summer.  He had record breaking months almost every month this year, and was down, just one month, less than 7%.

“Earl, who’s this Earl people keep asking about,” JR Hott, one of the owners of Panhandle Helicopter, was joking about, “People kept asking if we’d seen this fellow named Earl on the beach.”  Hott recounted people continually calling asking if they’d seen oil on the beach while they were on their flight tours.  “Have you seen Earl on the beach? Has Earl come to the beach yet?”  Obviously, Hott was jokingly substituting the name ‘Earl’ for ‘oil’.

Panhandle Helicopter is a helicopter tours company, located right off of Front Beach Road, next to Pier Park.  If you’ve ever been to Pier Park and seen or heard the yellow helicopter flying overhead, chances are, that’s JR.  Him and his brother own the outfit, but JR and another pilot operate the business on the ground.  Some days during the summer, they’ll run flights back to back, never shutting the engine down from the time they open to the time they close, just before sundown.  But, at the end of the day, there are only so many tours one helicopter can take.

Their limited availability is probably the biggest reason the oil spill didn’t seem to effect them this summer.  Hott remarked that had the oil spill not happened, he felt sure that his business would have done better over the summer, but he was up 20 to 30% almost every month this year so far, so he’s not complaining.

The interesting thing is that I felt sure that he was going to tell me of all the business he received as a direct result of the oil spill.  We at PCBDaily took numerous rides up and down the beach looking for oil, shooting reassuring video showing none.  I just knew he was going to tell me that condo owners, resort operators, local businesses would do the same.  Nope, Hott said he got two jobs all summer that were directly related to the oil spill.  One was a chartered trip to Pensacola and the other was a Destin resort operator that wanted to take a ride to be sure they could tel their guests no oil was in sight.

Hott admitted that at one point, oil was reported to be within 7 miles of our shores, but in his daily trips up in the air, with his visibility extended for miles off-shore, he never saw any slicks, tarmat or tarball fields or whispy, foamy sheen floating on the surface.  “June grass and algae was real bad this year, worse than I remember,” Hott recalled after recounting all the riders comments on the huge areas of June Grass floating on the surface.  On a couple rides I took, I saw the very same material, June Grass, which looked very similar to the pictures of oil and tar balls that I had seen on the news.  Many attributed the increase in algae and June Grass to the oil spill, but I don’t see the connection.

All in all, Panhandle Helicopter wasn’t concerned with the oil spill.  They never seemed to get caught up in the hype, and they still had customers over the summer that were as interested in their services as ever.  Would they have done better this year had the oil spill not occurred?  Almost certainly, but they still have plans for expansion and will be growing in the future.

14 thoughts on “The BP Effect – Does it ‘Affect’ Everyone? Panhandle Helicopter’s Story

      1. It is a big deal. To the reader, poor grammar has an effect similar to the sound of fingernails grating on a chalkboard. I’ve read a lot on this site about creating a more “upscale” Panama City Beach. Using proper grammar is basic to that effort.


      2. You both seem more uptight about “grammar” than reading/commenting about the story here.
        (shaking my head) Go Figure………

        I will say this much, our family vacationed in PCB many times up to mid-October and all of us had a wonderful time. We did not let news-casters ruin our vacations as many thers seemed to do. Sometimes you need to check out various web-cams of the beaches, call & talk to your owners (if renting a condo) and think logical before backing away from such a beautiful vacation spot such as PCB.
        We have been coming here for many years and you know what… IF the oil had came to these beaches (which it didn’t, not enough to amount to anything) WE were still coming down!
        That’s how much we love & PCB and support your town.

        Now, as far as “Grammar” is concerned…….. it is a pretty nit-picky thing and in bad taste to point out such foolishness in an article of such importance.
        You readers really need something better to focus on!

        Thank you, Cathy/Tennessee


      3. Well Cathy, (shaking my head) isn’t it a bit nit picky and in poor taste to call people nit picky?? And your point is exactly RIGHT ON! Bad grammar takes the focus away from subject matter. Glad even you can see that!


      4. My dear Leanna…….
        If you might notice my comments were seperated in paragraphs which indicate not refering to those who were spoken to in the first paragraph. If that were the case, I would have mentioned & made that remark then.
        It is in my opinion(only) to refer to those whom are “Nit Picky”, if indeed it is not yours, please do not make it.
        The writers grammar did not in any way take the focus away from the subject matter…… the readers did that all on their own.
        It is in poor taste deary to place your comments where they are not needed.

        Good Day


    1. I apologize for my incorrect use of “effect”, vs. “affect”. If you’re a writer, you know this is a tricky one. Frankly, this is a homonym that I’ve used very little in the last couple years, and haven’t taken the time to master it.

      Anyway, I’m sorry to have caused such a commotion.

      Jellen, I know you’ve been a long-time reader, and we appreciate that.

      To the others, all I can say is that we tend to focus on great content, sometimes grammar and spelling isn’t 100%, but when you write 5,000 words a week, somethings aren’t perfect.

      Cathy, I’ve been doing this a long time, I have pretty tough skin and have had much worse from opponents to the airport, anti-development environmentalists and angry realtors. 😀


      1. Well stated Jason, I do not write/report as you do for a living but, I have a strong love/passion for writing.
        I seem to believe that sometimes “anything” can set readers off to the point of commotion even when it is a harmless slip up.
        It shows that society is very up-tight & we need to relax more.
        What better place to relax than at PCB!!!
        I will say dear I’m very happy that you are “tough” skinned! Hahahaaa

        P.S. If you ever have the need for someone to write some articles (beach or otherwise) I am always avalable! “smile”

        Thank you, Cathy/Tennessee


  1. There’s a reason for their success. Their dedication to ensuring everyone has the best comfortable, most enjoyable flight possible and you get to know the area in detail from the best vantage point there is. You couldn’t find any better ambassadors for Panama City Beach. (¯`·._.·ns¢ävË·._.·´¯)


  2. It really does make the article easier to read when proper grammar and spelling are used. It also makes the publication look more professional.

    It doesn’t take much effort. For example: “affect” is generally used as a verb and “effect” as a noun.

    Also, “Him and his brother own the outfit” should be “He and his brother…”

    Use commas sparingly. They are helpful when appropriate, but can cause confusion to the reader when used in the wrong places.

    I feel like PCBDaily has evolved past the point of being a simple blog (where spelling/grammar may not be a big deal) to the point of being a semi-professional publication and would benefit from a little attention to detail. It would compliment the quality of content quite nicely.

    Either way, keep up the good work. PCBDaily has great content.


  3. Yes, some mistakes you can get away with easily, but effect/affect is NOT one of them! The downside of bad grammar is that people comment on the grammar, rather than the subject matter. Also, if the effort was taken to correct the title, then why wasn’t that effort applied to the rest of the content?

    I’m sure the author will never confuse effect/affect again!


  4. I never did real good in english in scholl either.
    But, am on Jason’s side.
    Can’t type very well too.
    Do like PC daily a lot.

    P.S. When it counts I have “people” that check stuff for me.


  5. I think the spelling issue is largely a red herring. I can easily overlook the odd grammatic and/or spelling error to see what the intent of the writer is.

    In the age of e-mails, text messages, and the internet, things have changed and for better or worse spelling has often taken a back seat to speed and ease of what you’re writing.

    For example a sentence like “see you tomorrow” is now often written via text message as “c u 2morrow.” It is what it is, and rather than become Gammar Nazi’s it’s best just to adapt to the newr reality.


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