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Meet a otor


Pro RPMN: Tell me about your first flight.


The first flight I remember with my hands on the controls was in the early 1970s in a Cessna 182. We flew from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas. I was not tall enough to see over the dashboard of the airplane, so my dad pointed to the altimeter and heading instruments and told me what numbers to look at and hold. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out so well. We were all over the sky and my mom and sister quickly got air sick. It was a short-lived flight attempt, but I was definitely hooked on flying.


RPMN: How did you get your start in helicopters?


In September of 1982, thanks to Sgt. 1st Class Dwight Thayer, I applied and was accepted into the Army warrant officer high school to flight school program. After basic training in Fort Dix, New Jersey, I found myself back in my childhood home area of Fort Rucker, Alabama, only this time I was in Royal Blue “Shoot ‘em in the face” flight class 83-43-1. We started out with 35 candidates, and graduated a year later with nine.


10 Sept/Oct 2016 Rick Guthery RPMN: What is your current position?


I’m currently the training and standardization commander at the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department Air Rescue Bureau. Additionally, I am a helicopter designated pilot examiner with the South Florida Flight Standards District Office. For the last 21 years, I’ve also operated my own business, Helicopter Partners Inc.


RPMN: When and how did you choose to fly helicopters, or did helicopters choose you?


Helicopters definitely chose me. My entire childhood at Fort Rucker was spent watching Hueys takeoff and land. I always wondered which one Dad was flying. After he left the Army, I flew with him every chance I could get in Jet Rangers and AStars ... and finally found the elusive “hover button.”


RPMN: Where did you get your start flying commercially?


In 1988, after six years of active duty, I left the Army to fly for International Helicopter Service, which operated several AS350s for aerial filming and movie work. The company


was owned by Al Guthery, the greatest helicopter pilot ever. (I may be a bit biased; he’s my dad.) I almost didn’t get the job— the interview was brutal!


RPMN: If you were not in the helicopter industry, what else would you see yourself doing?


When I was in high school, I really wanted to play professional football or be in a rock band. Unfortunately, I was really really bad at football, singing, and guitar playing. If the Army had not given me the opportunity to fly, then my best guess is that I would have stayed with some form of teaching. I enjoy seeing people learn and master new skills. Sometimes a different approach or teaching technique can turn failure into success.


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