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Michael Cochran RPMN: What is your current position?


I am currently a line pilot for Med-Trans flying a Bell 407GX. I am responsible for the safe and expeditious transport of medical personnel and patients while complying with FAA regulations and the company’s established procedures. The majority of our flight requests are either scene calls (vehicle accidents, heart attacks, shootings, etc.) or interfacility transports (hospital to hospital) where the patient is taken to a higher level of care.


that I worked for had a helicopter and I was fortunate enough to take a month off of work, complete my private helicopter rating, and then fly with the agency’s CFI on a part-time basis until I had the aeronautical experience to complete my commercial certificate.


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


I was looking for a career after law enforcement. I would have been in my mid-40s when I would have been eligible to retire. My thought process was that if I could fly the agency’s helicopter part- time, I would have enough aeronautical experience to fly HEMS by the time I retired. Unfortunately, as soon as I completed my commercial certificate the economy tanked and the agency I was with began the discussion of ceasing air operations. However, I was lucky enough to find another law enforcement agency to fly for that also had a plane. While working there, I was able to complete my helicopter ATP, ASEL ATP, and commercial AMEL. I then transitioned to flying HEMS.


RPMN: Where did you get your start flying commercially? RPMN: Tell me about your first flight.


My first flight in a helicopter was actually Day One when I started my helicopter training at Ocean Helicopters in Palm Beach, Florida. I did my training in an R22 and I remember that I kept leaning towards the center of the aircraft, as there were no doors, and I felt like I was going to fall out. I prefer to have doors on at 3,000 feet AGL or above.


RPMN: How did you get your start in helicopters?


As a kid I always wanted to be a pilot, but I didn’t have the financial means to do it and didn’t have the vision acuity to get the training via the military route. Thus, I fell into law enforcement. The agency


10 Jan/Feb 2018


I started flying commercially for law enforcement. Our primary mission was to support the patrol officers. We responded to in- progress calls such as burglaries, robberies, foot pursuits, vehicle pursuits, missing persons, etc. Utilizing our eyes in the daytime and a FLIR camera at night, we assisted in setting up perimeters and searching for bad guys. Once we found them, we would coordinate, adjusting the perimeter around them if need be and directing ground units to them so that they could be taken into custody. Finding the suspects could be a challenge sometimes. Once we found them, they were not getting away.


RPMN: If you were not in the helicopter industry, what else would you see yourself doing? I would be a pilot on the fixed-wing side of the industry. I can’t imagine not flying for a living.


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