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Meet a otor


Pro RPMN: What is your current position?


I am a utility pilot and safety officer for the Tennessee Valley Authority. We fly MD530F, EC120, EC145, and Bell 407 aircraft in support of serving the people of the Tennessee Valley and its 16,000-plus miles of powerlines.


RPMN: Tell me about your first flight.


My first flight in a helicopter was an introduction flight in an R22 at a flight school, Higher Ground Helicopters, in my home state of Ohio. It was only a half-hour flight, but I was hooked.


RPMN: How did you get your start in helicopters?


Originally I was going to go through the U.S. Army flight school at Ft. Rucker, but I had a bad skydiving accident shortly after my Warrant Officer Candidate School graduation. The injuries I received disqualified me from being an Army pilot, but they did not keep me from following my dream. After seven years of Army service, I used my GI Bill and started the professional pilot course at Higher Ground Helicopters.


RPMN: When and how did you choose to fly helicopters? Or did they choose you?


I think it was a little bit of both. Growing up, my church pastor always spoke of his time as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, which sparked my interest. Also, my father was a volunteer fireman and I saw MedFlight


Adam Hammond


of Ohio land at the local fire department for an LZ safety briefing. Being able to land vertically in a baseball field seemed much more interesting than landing on a runway. Those experiences were always in the front of my mind when it came time to choose a career.


RPMN: Where did you get your start flying commercially?


My first big break in the industry was accepting a flight instructor position at Ocean Helicopters in West Palm Beach, Florida. It is a very busy flight school; I was able to give 1,000 hours of instruction in my first year. The chief pilot there, Pam Landis, is a great mentor to new flight instructors. She and Rick Guthery, a Miami-Dade rescue pilot, helped me realize my calling as a utility pilot. My first job outside of flight instructing was with Haverfield Aviation, where I spent four years inspecting, maintaining, and constructing power lines.


RPMN: What else could you see yourself doing if you were not in the helicopter industry?


Not knowing that Army physical requirements for pilots were different than the FAA requirements, I was on my way to law school. After I finished my bachelor’s degree, I still wanted to fly. I started to research the FAA requirements and realized I could receive second-class medical certification. So I said goodbye to the law school plan ... and hello to helicopters.


RPMN: What do you enjoy doing on your days off?


I enjoy spending time with my wife, Maranda, and our two daughters, Lo and Hadley. They are full of life and energy, and we always have some fun adventures. During the fall season, my daughters and I devote some of our Saturdays to


12


Jan/Feb 2017


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