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Jim Cochran RPMN: What is your current position?


I’m currently the Eastern United States regional pilot training manager/check airman with Metro Aviation Inc.


An additional duty with Metro is that of maintenance/production test pilot at Paradigm Aerospace Corporation, known as PAC International, a wholly owned subsidiary of Metro Aviation. This responsibility has        numerous types of airframes, including: Airbus EC145, EC135 (all variants), AS350 and the BK117 (all variants); Bell 206 series and the 407s, (both analog) and the GX1000s and the MD900.


I’m also co-owner of Professional Helicopter Services LLC, one of the principals in 4D Aviation Consulting LLC.


I enjoyed a 26-year career with the Pennsylvania State Police, retiring from the Aviation Unit in 2010.





First time ever, my dad, brother and I took a ride in a Cessna 172 at the local airport when I was 12 or so. It was then and there  an aviation career. I started ground school in 1975.


In a helicopter, it was on a Boy Scout canoe trip to Moosonee, Ontario, when I was 16. My dad and I took a sightseeing ride in a Bell 47 and...WOW! The helicopter bug bit me.


RPMN: How did you get your start in helicopters?


My uncle was one of the early Navy helicopter pilots (#67) and after the Navy, he went to Bell Helicopter. We took a few family vacations to visit my uncle in Texas and I always enjoyed the tours of the Bell facility my uncle would take us on. With


12 May/June 2018


that, I grew up with an interest in aviation, especially helicopters. Unfortunately, my        helicopters, but my dad continued with guidance and support.


It was a thrill to attend the Bell Helicopter training facility in Hurst, Texas, in the early  with some of my uncle’s old friends.


RPMN: When and how did you choose to 


It was a bit of both. I initially headed to college for mechanical/aeronautical engineering, then realized that the view from a desk would get boring fast. So to my family’s dismay, I dropped out and went to work at the local steel mill; then after that I became an FBO at the local airport as a lineman.


I bounced around a bit due to the economic slump of the early ‘80s until enlisting in the state police in 1984. I was able to resume  looked back since.


My initial training began at the Community College of Beaver County (Pennsylvania), earning an associate’s degree in  With my early interest in helicopters and  the law enforcement helicopter mission was more appealing and challenging. It was an inevitable move to the rotor-wing world.


RPMN: Where did you get your start 


 but helicopter wise, with the state police,  pilot with an ENG contract in Pittsburgh.


After retirement from the state police,        


 from the law enforcement, ENG, and what I remembered from the airplane Part 135 world of the late ‘80s through the ‘90s. There were some initial challenges but all in all, the experience proved invaluable.


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


        airlines, instructing/teaching aviation, or I’d be an engineer.


RPMN: What do you enjoy doing on 


 traveling with my wife and family and spending time with my grandson.


RPMN: What is your greatest career accomplishment to date?


I have been blessed with some great experiences in my aviation careers. There’s nothing more satisfying than being able to complete a mission safely and with the objective accomplished, whether it’s the law enforcement response to the 9/11          Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge from Erie to Harrisburg), or completing a Medevac transport of a critical patient in IMC.


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