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Articles for category Human Interest




Jan
09
2023

Executive Watch - Dale Neubauer, CEO, HeliLadder

Posted by Admin

Dale Neubauer, founder and CEO of Oregon-based HeliLadder is rare among mechanics. That’s too narrow a claim; in fact, he’s rare among people. He noticed a real need as a working mechanic: he and his fellow wrench turners were contorting themselves in risky, uncomfortable, and inefficient working conditions, dangling themselves from old-style ladders that hadn’t made a significant step-up in half a century. “I thought that it was just ridiculous that maintenance ladders had not improved,” he says. “Nothing had changed, except they were now made out of fiberglass, but it was still the same conventional design they’d used in World War II.” [Read More...]



Tags: Dale Neubauer Executive Watch HeliLadder
Categories: categoryOpinion-Editorial categoryHuman Interest categoryCompany Profiles



Nov
21
2022

Meet a Rotor Pro - Matt Johnson, Metro Aviation

Posted by Admin

RPMN: What is your current position? I am a single-pilot IFR HAA Line Pilot, Part 135 check airman, instructor, and FOQA gatekeeper for Metro Aviation, and a designated pilot examiner (DPE) for the FAA. I also remain active as a sworn law enforcement (LE) officer flying on a part-time basis for a sheriff's office. [Read More...]



Tags: Matt Johnson Metro Aviation Meet A Rotor Pro
Categories: categoryCareer Development categoryOpinion-Editorial categoryHuman Interest



Nov
07
2022

Executive Watch - Mark Schlaefli, President and Owner of Dakota Rotors LLC

Posted by Admin

“It’s not fake it until you make it , but keep working until you obtain it,” says the entrepreneur pilot who accelerated through the pilot ranks into management faster than a V-22 Osprey and decided that wasn’t enough. So, he bought four helicopter tour operations that fly from Montana to Mount Rushmore. That wasn’t enough. So, he’s starting up a fifth utility operation to balance his tourist-heavy holdings. Yet, if you’re expecting to meet some hard-charging, win-at-all-costs egomaniac, you’re in for a pleasant surprise and time. Here, let’s introduce you to Mark Schlaefli president and owner of Dakota Rotors LLC, and (deep breath now): Black Hills Aerial Adventures, Rushmore Helicopters, Badger Helicopters (DBA Badlands Helicopters) and Yellowstone Helicopters. Coming this fall is the addition of a Part 133 and Part 137 certificate to Dakota Rotors to enhance their ability to deliver a full spectrum of services throughout the Midwest and Mountain West. [Read More...]



Tags: Black Hills Aerial Adventures Dakota Rotors Helicopter tour Operations
Categories: categoryHuman Interest categoryCareer Development categoryCompany Profiles



Sep
26
2022

Meet a Rotor Pro - Tony Minnis

Posted by Admin

RPMN: What is your current position? I recently retired as the Aviation Section captain for the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Orlando, Florida. The Section has four helicopters, one fixed-wing aircraft, and 24 full-time personnel consisting of pilots, flight observers and mechanics. There are additional part-time personnel available on an as-needed basis. RPMN: Tell me about your first flight or experience with helicopters. My first flight in a helicopter was when I was assigned as an A-4 plane captain with VMA-131 in the U.S. Marine Corps. We flew on a CH-53 from Willow Grove Naval Air Station in Pennsylvania to Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey. It was a fantastic experience. The pilots were Vietnam veterans who truly enjoyed their work and took time to explain what they were doing as well as how the systems operated on the aircraft. From that point on I was hooked on becoming a pilot. [Read More...]



Tags: Meet A Rotor Pro Orange County Sheriffs Aviation Unit Tony Minnis
Categories: categoryCareer Development categoryHuman Interest



Aug
01
2022

Meet a Rotorcraft Pro - Thurbie Botterill, Lee County Mosquito Control

Posted by Admin

What is your current position? I am chief pilot at the Lee County Mosquito Control District (LCMCD). Our team of pilots operate a fleet of both fixed-wing and helicopters that currently consists of two DC-3TPs, two King Air 200s and six Airbus H-125 helicopters. LCMCD is the largest single-county mosquito control agency in the country and we fly a variety of missions from daytime liquid and granular treatments to nighttime ultra-low volume treatments with the use of NVGs. [Read More...]



Tags: Lee County Mosquito Control Aviation Unit Thurbie Botterill
Categories: categoryHuman Interest



Jul
11
2022

Executive Watch - Managing Director Markus Schmitz, Axnes Inc.

Posted by Admin

“The helicopter industry is a comparatively small industry that almost has a family feel,” says Markus Schmitz. It’s a family that the managing director of Axnes Inc. has wanted to belong to much of his life. Upon graduating from the University of Applied Science at Aachen in his native Germany with an aerospace engineering degree , the 1998 graduate had to make a choice. One road led to his designing fixed-wing airframes. The other road led to Eurocopter in Donauwörth where Schmitz was offered his way to helicopters. Schmitz took the wanderlust path. “I chose Eurocopter because I wanted to work in the helicopter industry and with its customers and see the world,” he says. Actually, that decision was pretty predetermined since Schmitz was a young boy growing up in the town of Vellmar, near the city of Kassel. His father sold fertilizer and salt internationally and his mother was a homemaker for her family. “My background was a stable one from a small town,” he says. “My interests growing up were in medicine and aviation. Helicopters always fascinated me from seeing them fly overhead as a small boy and I later understood their capabilities in medical emergencies.” [Read More...]



Tags: Markus Schmitz Axnes Rotorcraft Pro Rotorcraft Pro Executive Watch
Categories: categoryHuman Interest



May
09
2022

Executive Watch - Marek Polcak CEO, Co-Founder of Vrgineers Inc.

Posted by Admin

“Timing is everything,” says Marek Polcak, CEO and co-founder of the Czech Republic-based technology company that he hopes is timed to transform rotary- and fixed-wing aviation training. That company, Vrgineers Inc., has a unique spelling that reflects its unique combination of technology it is introducing to aviation. The first two letters are pronounced as individual letters: V-R-gineers. That captures what Polcak and his team do—they are virtual reality (VR) engineers creating realistic training scenarios in virtual- and mixed-reality systems that put civilian and military pilots into certain scenarios that allow the training of more tactics or missions than a normal simulator. [Read More...]



Tags: Marek Polcak Rotorcraft Pro Executive Watch Vrgineers Inc
Categories: categoryCompany Profiles categoryOpinion-Editorial categoryHuman Interest



Mar
28
2022

Executive Watch - Larry Alexandre President, United Rotorcraft

Posted by Admin

The first impression is that Larry Alexandre seems not properly placed to lead United Rotorcraft, a well-known maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) leader that specializes in customizing helicopter medevac interiors one aircraft at a time. Alexandre is passionate about Lean, the practice of creating a more effective business by eliminating wasteful practices and focusing on value creation for customers. “Very few MROs in our industry believe that Lean principles apply in our world, often because they believe it is only for high volume manufacturing. I’m a big believer in and practitioner of Lean principles to rally an entire team around making your business better (through efficiency) and creating value for your customers.” Earlier in his career when he worked in Operations at Turbomeca, Alexandre says, “I enjoyed taking inefficient practices, often rampant in fragmented industries like the helicopter industry, and making them more efficient and process-oriented. I started each day with the belief that anyone in the team, with the right focus, could find waste in their processes, eliminate it, and improve efficiency.” [Read More...]



Tags: Larry Alexandre Larry Alexandre President United Rotorcraft
Categories: categoryCompany Profiles categoryHuman Interest



Mar
14
2022

Meet a Rotorcraft Pro - Jerry Trimble

Posted by Admin

RPMN: What is your current position? My wife, Alison and I own Jerry Trimble Helicopter Inc. We started the company in 2007 with one helicopter and one airplane. We provide primary and advanced flight training in both helicopters and airplanes. Our school is located in McMinnville, Oregon. RPMN: Tell me about your first flight or experience with helicopters? I flew with my dad, Robert Trimble, in one of his Bell 47s back in the ‘50s. He worked for Etna Helicopters along with his two partners – Bill Mathews and Erling Hertager. [Read More...]



Tags: Jerry Trimble Helicopters Meet A Rotorcraft Pro
Categories: categoryHuman Interest categoryOpinion-Editorial



Jan
24
2022

Meet A Rotorcraft Pro - Wes Van Dell, Chief Flight Instructor of UND

Posted by Admin

RPMN: What is your current position? I am chief flight instructor at the University of North Dakota (UND) and a designated pilot examiner for the FAA. UND Aerospace has been training pilots since 1968 and currently has over one thousand active flight students in fixed-wing, helicopter, and UAS degree programs. As chief flight instructor, I have many responsibilities including the day-to-day operations of the helicopter department, hiring and standardizing instructors, conducting evaluations, and teaching academic classes. We flew a record 126,000 flight hours last year making our home airport of Grand Forks routinely one of the busiest in the country. We’ve operated a number of helicopters over the decades from MD500s to Bell 206s and have transitioned exclusively to the Robinson R44 Cadet this past year. [Read More...]



Tags: University of North Dakota Aviation Wes Van Dell
Categories: categoryCareer Development categoryHuman Interest


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