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adrenaline when flying and dropping water from a helicopter onto a fire.


RPMN: What is your greatest career accomplishment to date?


There have been many little milestones in my career, but I would say that being safe and having a good track record without accidents or incidents after 30 years of flying would be my greatest accomplishment. I attribute that to all of the training pilots I have flown with who have taught me something valuable over all the years; you learn something from everyone you fly with. I am continuously learning new things from guys I fly with. Also I would say another big factor is flying for companies that take good care of their helicopters. Being well trained, flying good equipment, and always trying to make good decisions are what got me to my 30-year mark this year.


RPMN: Have you ever had an “Oh, crap!” moment in a helicopter? Can you summarize what happened?


Luckily, there have not been any serious “Oh, crap!” moments. Lots of small things that were non-events like chip lights, including a chip light that turned into a compressor failure once reaching the ground, a hydraulic failure. There was also an engine rolling back to flight idle in a twin while SIC in an S-58; I was along for the ride on that one. We were in a dip with a 150- foot line when it happened, and I do recall thinking how when we settled those rocks were pretty close to the blades as we hovered in a tight spot. Fortunately, the spot was wide enough and we limped the helicopter over to a safe spot on one engine.


RPMN: If you could give only one piece of advice to a new helicopter pilot, what would it be?


Never become complacent in your work. Learn new things and skills and be actively involved in the helicopter community. Join groups and get together with other pilots because this whole industry is all tied together and networking, and getting to know everyone not only will bring you so many friendships, it will connect you with more opportunities for work down the road. I met pilots along the way when I was looking for work who helped guide me, and to this day we are really good friends. I cherish those friendships.


RPMN: In your view, what is the greatest challenge for the helicopter industry at this moment in time?


Safety and training. Pilots should take it upon themselves to get more training and continue to learn about incidents that have turned fatal. Learn about incidents and get good training, whether it’s from the company you fly for or go pay for some emergency procedures training. Taking these initiatives benefit you.


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