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“I understand, partner. We’ll just have to see what happens then.”


I stood on the helipad throwing a wave goodbye, as Joe took off from the hospital helipad in the bright orange Alouette III. I went back to my room in the hospital to call my wife to tell her that I was now out of a job and that our dream of going to San Diego would probably not happen.


The hospital administrator was understandably irate, but thanked me for not going along with Rocky’s request, praising me for standing my ground. He told me he had called Evergreen and they said that they would have another helicopter there by late afternoon to take over the contract. He asked if I would stay at the hospital until it arrived to brief the new pilot about the operation. I said I would and waited a long six hours gazing into an uncertain future.


That early evening at 5:00, a manager with Evergreen landed a brand new A-Star on the helipad where that morning the orange Alouette III had been parked. After introducing himself, the manager told me he had never flown on a HEMS


program and said Evergreen would hire me to fly on the top stretcher of the A-Star and guide him through it. I said I would and with that, I now had a new employer.


We managed to get through that first night, me on the top stretcher talking him through the flight, telling him when to make radio calls, and navigating for him. Between flights I gave him a quick course in becoming a HEMS pilot.


Evergreen did win the San Diego


contract over Rocky Mountain. I was told that because of my HEMS experience I would go to San Diego to set up the program, an event that would change my life immeasurably.


My son would meet his future wife and have two beautiful girls. When UCSD Medical Center became the first hospital- based IFR program in America, I would meet a British pilot working for the Royal Oman Police in the flight simulator in Fort Worth who would change my life forever.


Of course, that is another story.


Randy Mains is an author, public speaker, and an AMRM con- sultant who works in the he- licopter industry after a long career of aviation adventure. He currently serves


as chief


CRM/AMRM instructor for Oregon Aero.


He may be contacted at: info@randymains.com


rotorcraftpro.com


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