The Hangar Z Podcast

Jon Gray

A podcast where we explore the personnel and equipment behind the missions in Public Safety Aviation.

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Episodes

Episode 159 - James Heckman of Two Bear
May 7 2024
Episode 159 - James Heckman of Two Bear
Welcome to The Hangar Z Podcast, brought to you by Vertical Helicasts! In this episode of The Hangar Z Podcast, Mike Calhoun and Jason Quinn from the Real ResQ Podcast speak with James Hickman, the chief pilot at Two Bear Air Rescue. Join us as we unravel the story of Hickman’s aviation career, from his humble beginnings in Oregon to the peaks of Montana. The ultimate mission of Two Bear Air Rescue is saving lives. Based near Whitefish, Montana, Two Bear Air Rescue provides world-class aviation support for search-and-rescue operations across the northwest United States. ​Whitefish philanthropist Michael Goguen supports all costs of this program, leaving zero cost to the taxpayers. Hickman’s path to becoming a seasoned pilot wasn't without its twists and turns. After honing his skills as a helicopter and fixed-wing flight instructor in Kalispell, Montana, he immersed himself in the world of backcountry charter flying, where every flight presented its own unique challenges. But it was during his time as an instructor that fate intervened, as Hickman found himself collaborating with the visionaries behind Two Bear Air Rescue, a burgeoning search-and-rescue outfit. As Hickman accumulated flight hours and experience, he seized the opportunity to join Era Helicopters in Alaska, where he had the opportunity to fly above the breathtaking landscapes of Denali National Park. His time in Alaska proved to be not only exhilarating but also transformative, laying the groundwork for his eventual return to Two Bear Air Rescue as a pilot. For eight years now, Hickman has been an integral part of the team, leveraging his expertise to save lives and navigate the rugged terrain of Montana's backcountry. Beyond the cockpit, Hickman embraces the mountain lifestyle, indulging in his passions for skiing, mountain biking, and paragliding. His love for adventure knows no bounds. Thank you to our sponsors Bell, Collins Aerospace Goodrich hoist and winch and Precision Aviation Group.
Episode 156 - Leon County Sheriff's Office with Captain Lee Majors with Part II
Apr 25 2024
Episode 156 - Leon County Sheriff's Office with Captain Lee Majors with Part II
Welcome to The Hangar Z Podcast, brought to you by Vertical Helicasts!In this two-part series, we sit down to talk with Capt Lee Majors from the Leon County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) in Florida.The LCSO has operated helicopters in support of law enforcement and public safety efforts in Tallahassee, Leon County, and the surrounding area since 1974. For the first 25 or so years, LCSO operated the only law enforcement helicopter in the Florida panhandle. Today, the LCSO Aviation Bureau is often modeled by other agencies, and is the primary Florida Regional Domestic Security Task Force aviation response unit for the region. Majors is a lifelong resident of Tallahassee, with a rich history of service in law enforcement aviation and community involvement. His journey with the LCSO began as a volunteer in 1985 when he joined the LCSO C.B. Posse, steadily rising through the ranks to the position of lieutenant. In 1989, while still serving in the posse, he volunteered at aviation as a reserve tactical flight officer, showcasing his dedication to public safety aviation. In January 2000, his commitment was recognized when he was hired as a full-time employee into the aviation unit. Over the years, Majors has played pivotal roles within the LCSO, including being promoted to sergeant in 2014 and assuming command of the aviation unit. Throughout his tenure, Majors has spearheaded numerous initiatives and achievements within the LCSO. He was instrumental in procuring and outfitting the new Bell 505 helicopter, marking the first new aircraft purchased for the unit since its inception in 1974. Additionally, he played a key role in establishing the LCSO/Tallahassee PD Aviation Task Force, expanding the reach and effectiveness of airborne law enforcement operations in Tallahassee/Leon County and beyond. Majors' expertise extends beyond the LCSO, as he is recognized as a subject matter expert in airborne law enforcement operations nationally. He has lent his technical and safety guidance to numerous agencies, assisting them with aviation unit start-ups and equipment procurement. Majors is a pilot with over 5,600 hours of logged pilot-in-command time. He holds Federal Aviation Administration certifications as an airline transport pilot, flight instructor for helicopters and single-engine land and sea airplanes, instrument flight instructor, and advanced ground school instructor, among others. Outside of his professional endeavors, Majors is actively involved in various organizations and community initiatives. He serves on the board of directors for the Airborne Public Safety Association, where he currently holds the position of treasurer. He also volunteers with organizations such as the Experimental Aircraft Association, Lively Technical College Airframe and Powerplant School Occupational Advisory Council, and the Boy Scouts of America. Majors' dedication to aviation safety, law enforcement, and community service has made a lasting impact on the public safety aviation community worldwide.Thank you to our sponsors Astronautics Corporation of America, Trakka Systems and Greenwich AeroGroup
Episode 155 - Leon County Sheriff's Office with Captain Lee Majors with Part I
Apr 23 2024
Episode 155 - Leon County Sheriff's Office with Captain Lee Majors with Part I
Welcome to The Hangar Z Podcast, brought to you by Vertical Helicasts!In this two-part series, we sit down to talk with Capt Lee Majors from the Leon County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) in Florida.The LCSO has operated helicopters in support of law enforcement and public safety efforts in Tallahassee, Leon County, and the surrounding area since 1974. For the first 25 or so years, LCSO operated the only law enforcement helicopter in the Florida panhandle. Today, the LCSO Aviation Bureau is often modeled by other agencies, and is the primary Florida Regional Domestic Security Task Force aviation response unit for the region. Majors is a lifelong resident of Tallahassee, with a rich history of service in law enforcement aviation and community involvement. His journey with the LCSO began as a volunteer in 1985 when he joined the LCSO C.B. Posse, steadily rising through the ranks to the position of lieutenant. In 1989, while still serving in the posse, he volunteered at aviation as a reserve tactical flight officer, showcasing his dedication to public safety aviation. In January 2000, his commitment was recognized when he was hired as a full-time employee into the aviation unit. Over the years, Majors has played pivotal roles within the LCSO, including being promoted to sergeant in 2014 and assuming command of the aviation unit. Throughout his tenure, Majors has spearheaded numerous initiatives and achievements within the LCSO. He was instrumental in procuring and outfitting the new Bell 505 helicopter, marking the first new aircraft purchased for the unit since its inception in 1974. Additionally, he played a key role in establishing the LCSO/Tallahassee PD Aviation Task Force, expanding the reach and effectiveness of airborne law enforcement operations in Tallahassee/Leon County and beyond. Majors' expertise extends beyond the LCSO, as he is recognized as a subject matter expert in airborne law enforcement operations nationally. He has lent his technical and safety guidance to numerous agencies, assisting them with aviation unit start-ups and equipment procurement. Majors is a pilot with over 5,600 hours of logged pilot-in-command time. He holds Federal Aviation Administration certifications as an airline transport pilot, flight instructor for helicopters and single-engine land and sea airplanes, instrument flight instructor, and advanced ground school instructor, among others. Outside of his professional endeavors, Majors is actively involved in various organizations and community initiatives. He serves on the board of directors for the Airborne Public Safety Association, where he currently holds the position of treasurer. He also volunteers with organizations such as the Experimental Aircraft Association, Lively Technical College Airframe and Powerplant School Occupational Advisory Council, and the Boy Scouts of America. Majors' dedication to aviation safety, law enforcement, and community service has made a lasting impact on the public safety aviation community worldwide.Thank you to our sponsors Becker Avionics, SHOTOVER and Bell
Episode 153 -Exploring Airborne Tactical Training with Jack Schonely, Clay Lacey and Nick Minx Part III
Apr 16 2024
Episode 153 -Exploring Airborne Tactical Training with Jack Schonely, Clay Lacey and Nick Minx Part III
Welcome to The Hangar Z Podcast, brought to you by Vertical Helicasts! In this three-part series, Jeff Ratkovich and Jon Gray sit down with the industry's best airborne tactical instructors to discuss the importance of training and collaboration in the industry. This series has an all-star lineup up including Jack Schonely, Clay Lacey and Nick Minx.  Schonely spent over 30 years with the Los Angeles Police Department. He is a nationally recognized expert in suspect tactics and perimeter containment and is a sought-after tactical trainer. As you will quickly learn from his experience, he is uniquely qualified to instruct and write on perimeter containment, search techniques, tactics used by suspects, use of force, and a wide variety of aircrew topics. Schonely has participated in over 2,000 perimeter containments during his career, and he has seen many successes and failures. He has shared his experience with thousands of law enforcement officers across the world instructing on this topic. He is author of the book Apprehending Fleeing Suspects; Suspect Tactics and Perimeter Containment and has been published in numerous publications relating to this topic. We also get to hear from Lt Clay Lacey, who is currently employed by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). In 2000, Lacey was specially assigned to the Texas DPS Aviation Operations Division as a task force tactical flight officer where he has worked hundreds of flights and thousands of hours in support of criminal manhunts, surveillance, search-and-rescue, vehicle pursuits, foot pursuits, and airborne use of force.  Lacey developed the Texas DPS technical flight officer (TFO) training program from the ground up and currently serves as a TFO instructor within the unit. Lacey teaches around the world on behalf of the Airborne Public Safety Association and individual law enforcement units seeking additional specialized instruction, authors equipment procurement and bid specifications for the Texas DPS, and serves as a consultant for companies conducting large-scale emergency management and preparedness planning throughout the United States. Last but not least is Minx, the owner of Tactical Flying. Minx manages day-to-day operations while playing an active role in training and development. A sworn officer for nearly 20 years with San Diego Police Department, Minx was assigned to SDPD’s Air Support Unit as a TFO in 2012, and has since become certified as a helicopter pilot. He has over 3,000 combined hours working both seats in an aircraft, and continues to hone his skills as a tactical operator and a cooperative member of an aircrew. In particular, Minx has always been fascinated by the study of suspect behavior. Using incident videos and forward-looking infrared (FLIR) finds, he compiles data to track patterns of movement in fleeing suspects, and applies this information toward the continuous improvement of techniques and training in suspect searches. As part of Tactical Flying, Minx has provided instruction to tactical flight operators in both domestic and international settings, with clients ranging from military and law enforcement officers to federal agencies.Thank you to our sponsors Summit Aviation,  Anodyne Electronics Manufacturing, and Robinson Helicopters.
Episode 152 - Exploring Airborne Tactical Training with Jack Schonely, Clay Lacey and Nick Minx Part II
Apr 11 2024
Episode 152 - Exploring Airborne Tactical Training with Jack Schonely, Clay Lacey and Nick Minx Part II
Welcome to The Hangar Z Podcast, brought to you by Vertical Helicasts! In this three-part series, Jeff Ratkovich and Jon Gray sit down with the industry's best airborne tactical instructors to discuss the importance of training and collaboration in the industry. This series has an all-star lineup up including Jack Schonely, Clay Lacey and Nick Minx.  Schonely spent over 30 years with the Los Angeles Police Department. He is a nationally recognized expert in suspect tactics and perimeter containment and is a sought-after tactical trainer. As you will quickly learn from his experience, he is uniquely qualified to instruct and write on perimeter containment, search techniques, tactics used by suspects, use of force, and a wide variety of aircrew topics. Schonely has participated in over 2,000 perimeter containments during his career, and he has seen many successes and failures. He has shared his experience with thousands of law enforcement officers across the world instructing on this topic. He is author of the book Apprehending Fleeing Suspects; Suspect Tactics and Perimeter Containment and has been published in numerous publications relating to this topic. We also get to hear from Lt Clay Lacey, who is currently employed by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). In 2000, Lacey was specially assigned to the Texas DPS Aviation Operations Division as a task force tactical flight officer where he has worked hundreds of flights and thousands of hours in support of criminal manhunts, surveillance, search-and-rescue, vehicle pursuits, foot pursuits, and airborne use of force.  Lacey developed the Texas DPS technical flight officer (TFO) training program from the ground up and currently serves as a TFO instructor within the unit. Lacey teaches around the world on behalf of the Airborne Public Safety Association and individual law enforcement units seeking additional specialized instruction, authors equipment procurement and bid specifications for the Texas DPS, and serves as a consultant for companies conducting large-scale emergency management and preparedness planning throughout the United States. Last but not least is Minx, the owner of Tactical Flying. Minx manages day-to-day operations while playing an active role in training and development. A sworn officer for nearly 20 years with San Diego Police Department, Minx was assigned to SDPD’s Air Support Unit as a TFO in 2012, and has since become certified as a helicopter pilot. He has over 3,000 combined hours working both seats in an aircraft, and continues to hone his skills as a tactical operator and a cooperative member of an aircrew. In particular, Minx has always been fascinated by the study of suspect behavior. Using incident videos and forward-looking infrared (FLIR) finds, he compiles data to track patterns of movement in fleeing suspects, and applies this information toward the continuous improvement of techniques and training in suspect searches. As part of Tactical Flying, Minx has provided instruction to tactical flight operators in both domestic and international settings, with clients ranging from military and law enforcement officers to federal agencies. These great gentlemen are all also co-hosts on The Hangar Z Podcast, so look out for episodes where they share their knowledge and passion for the industry.Thank you to our sponsors Dallas Avionics, SHOTOVER and Robinson Helicopters
Episode 151 - Exploring Airborne Tactical Training with Jack Schonely, Clay Lacey and Nick Minx Part I
Apr 9 2024
Episode 151 - Exploring Airborne Tactical Training with Jack Schonely, Clay Lacey and Nick Minx Part I
Welcome to The Hangar Z Podcast, brought to you by Vertical Helicasts! In this three-part series, Jeff Ratkovich and Jon Gray sit down with the industry's best airborne tactical instructors to discuss the importance of training and collaboration in the industry. This series has an all-star lineup up including Jack Schonely, Clay Lacey and Nick Minx.  Schonely spent over 30 years with the Los Angeles Police Department. He is a nationally recognized expert in suspect tactics and perimeter containment and is a sought-after tactical trainer. As you will quickly learn from his experience, he is uniquely qualified to instruct and write on perimeter containment, search techniques, tactics used by suspects, use of force, and a wide variety of aircrew topics. Schonely has participated in over 2,000 perimeter containments during his career, and he has seen many successes and failures. He has shared his experience with thousands of law enforcement officers across the world instructing on this topic. He is author of the book Apprehending Fleeing Suspects; Suspect Tactics and Perimeter Containment and has been published in numerous publications relating to this topic. We also get to hear from Lt Clay Lacey, who is currently employed by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). In 2000, Lacey was specially assigned to the Texas DPS Aviation Operations Division as a task force tactical flight officer where he has worked hundreds of flights and thousands of hours in support of criminal manhunts, surveillance, search-and-rescue, vehicle pursuits, foot pursuits, and airborne use of force.  Lacey developed the Texas DPS technical flight officer (TFO) training program from the ground up and currently serves as a TFO instructor within the unit. Lacey teaches around the world on behalf of the Airborne Public Safety Association and individual law enforcement units seeking additional specialized instruction, authors equipment procurement and bid specifications for the Texas DPS, and serves as a consultant for companies conducting large-scale emergency management and preparedness planning throughout the United States. Last but not least is Minx, the owner of Tactical Flying. Minx manages day-to-day operations while playing an active role in training and development. A sworn officer for nearly 20 years with San Diego Police Department, Minx was assigned to SDPD’s Air Support Unit as a TFO in 2012, and has since become certified as a helicopter pilot. He has over 3,000 combined hours working both seats in an aircraft, and continues to hone his skills as a tactical operator and a cooperative member of an aircrew. In particular, Minx has always been fascinated by the study of suspect behavior. Using incident videos and forward-looking infrared (FLIR) finds, he compiles data to track patterns of movement in fleeing suspects, and applies this information toward the continuous improvement of techniques and training in suspect searches. As part of Tactical Flying, Minx has provided instruction to tactical flight operators in both domestic and international settings, with clients ranging from military and law enforcement officers to federal agencies. These great gentlemen are all also co-hosts on The Hangar Z Podcast, so look out for episodes where they share their knowledge and passion for the industry.Thank you to our sponsors Bell, CNC Technologies and Dallas Avionics.
Episode 150- HAI’s 2024 Salute to Excellence Pilot of the Year Mike Sagely
Apr 3 2024
Episode 150- HAI’s 2024 Salute to Excellence Pilot of the Year Mike Sagely
Welcome to The Hangar Z Podcast, brought to you by Vertical Helicasts! This episode was recorded live from the floor of HAI Heli-Expo in Anaheim in March 2024, where we were able to interview the HAI Salute to Excellence Pilot of the Year Award recipient Mike Sagely. Sagely's path to becoming a decorated pilot isn’t typical. After a successful college volleyball career that even included a stint on the U.S. Olympic volleyball team, Sagely enlisted in the U.S. Army in his mid-20s. His talent and dedication shone through immediately. He excelled in flight school, becoming a distinguished graduate, where he began flying the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. Sagely's impressive military career spanned 22 years. He served in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, later joining the elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment where he flew special combat missions. His bravery earned him seven Air Medals, a Bronze Star, and countless valuable experiences. After retiring from the Army, Sagely continued his service by becoming a contract fire pilot and later joining the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. In 2009, he joined the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACFD), where his leadership and abilities led to a swift promotion to senior pilot. His heroism during rescues and lifesaving missions has been recognized at LA County Fire with two valor awards and three separate rescue awards from Sikorsky. Sagely's dedication extends beyond flying. He credits his success to strong mentors throughout his career and actively mentors others, pushing them to grow and excel.  His leadership and mentorship are invaluable assets to the LA County Fire and the public safety aviation community as a whole. Thank you to our sponsors Precision Aviation Group, Anodyne Electronics Manufacturing and CNC Technologies.
Episode 149- From Small Town to LAPD Pilot with Deb Dickerson Part III
Mar 27 2024
Episode 149- From Small Town to LAPD Pilot with Deb Dickerson Part III
Welcome to The Hangar Z Podcast, brought to you by Vertical Helicasts! In this three part series, we sit down to talk with Deb Dickerson.A decorated former LAPD officer, Tactical Flight Officer and pilot. Deb Dickerson thrives on a life filled with challenge and passion. Born and raised in the tight-knit community of Guttenberg, Iowa (population 1,500), Deb developed a competitive spirit through sports like softball, basketball, and track. A pivotal moment came in 1984 during a vacation to Los Angeles for the Olympic Trials. Setting eyes on the city and experiencing her first airplane ride, Deb fell in love with flying. With unwavering determination, she traded her Midwestern roots for the California sunshine, starting a career in retail while harboring dreams of becoming a pilot. Driven by a desire for service, Deb's path took her to law enforcement. She joined the ranks of the LAPD in the late 1980s, where she become a respected officer. Her diverse career encompassed roles in Hollywood patrol, Vice, and the MTA Task Force, she even had an opportunity to ghostwrite for the Mayor and Chief of Police. A natural leader, Deb broke barriers as the first female Chief TFO (Tactical Flight Officer) in LAPD Air Support.  For eight years Deb served as a tactical flight officer, she was then the chief TFO for two years before being selected as a pilot.  Witnessing the aftermath of 9/11 firsthand, Deb actively participated in peer counseling efforts. Retirement in 2017 proved short-lived. Missing the thrill of flight, Deb returned to aviation in the Los Angeles basin as a news helicopter pilot. Thank you to our sponsors Collins Aerospace Goodrich Hoist and Winch, Garmin and Precision Aviation Group.
Episode 148- From Small Town to LAPD Pilot with Deb Dickerson Part II
Mar 22 2024
Episode 148- From Small Town to LAPD Pilot with Deb Dickerson Part II
Welcome to The Hangar Z Podcast, brought to you by Vertical Helicasts!In this three-part series, we sit down to talk with Deb Dickerson.A decorated former LAPD officer, Tactical Flight Officer and pilot. Deb Dickerson thrives on a life filled with challenge and passion. Born and raised in the tight-knit community of Guttenberg, Iowa (population 1,500), Deb developed a competitive spirit through sports like softball, basketball, and track. A pivotal moment came in 1984 during a vacation to Los Angeles for the Olympic Trials. Setting eyes on the city and experiencing her first airplane ride, Deb fell in love with flying. With unwavering determination, she traded her Midwestern roots for the California sunshine, starting a career in retail while harboring dreams of becoming a pilot. Driven by a desire for service, Deb's path took her to law enforcement. She joined the ranks of the LAPD in the late 1980s, where she become a respected officer. Her diverse career encompassed roles in Hollywood patrol, Vice, and the MTA Task Force, she even had an opportunity to ghostwrite for the Mayor and Chief of Police. A natural leader, Deb broke barriers as the first female Chief TFO (Tactical Flight Officer) in LAPD Air Support.  For eight years Deb served as a tactical flight officer, she was then the chief TFO for two years before being selected as a pilot.  Witnessing the aftermath of 9/11 firsthand, Deb actively participated in peer counseling efforts. Retirement in 2017 proved short-lived. Missing the thrill of flight, Deb returned to aviation in the Los Angeles basin as a news helicopter pilot. Thank you to our sponsors Wysong, Technisonic and Robinson Helicopters.
Episode 147- From Small Town to LAPD Pilot with Deb Dickerson Part I
Mar 20 2024
Episode 147- From Small Town to LAPD Pilot with Deb Dickerson Part I
Welcome to The Hangar Z Podcast, brought to you by Vertical Helicasts! In this three-part series, we sit down to talk with Deb Dickerson.Dickerson is a decorated former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer, tactical flight officer (TFO) and pilot who thrives in a life filled with challenge and passion. Born and raised in the tight-knit community of Guttenberg, Iowa (population 1,500), Deb developed a competitive spirit through sports like softball, basketball and track. A pivotal moment came in 1984 during a vacation to Los Angeles for the Olympic Trials. Setting eyes on the city and experiencing her first airplane ride, Dickerson fell in love with flying. With unwavering determination, she traded her Midwestern roots for the California sunshine, starting a career in retail while harboring dreams of becoming a pilot. Driven by a desire for service, Dickerson’s path took her to law enforcement. She joined the ranks of the LAPD in the late 1980s, where she become a respected officer. Her diverse career encompassed roles in Hollywood patrol, Vice, and the MTA Task Force; she even had an opportunity to ghostwrite for the mayor and chief of police. A natural leader, Dickerson broke barriers as the first female Chief TFO in LAPD Air Support. For eight years, Dickerson served as a tactical flight officer; she was then the chief TFO for two years before being selected as a pilot. Witnessing the aftermath of 9/11 firsthand, Dickerson actively participated in peer counseling efforts. Retirement in 2017 proved short-lived. Missing the thrill of flight, Dickerson returned to aviation in the Los Angeles basin as a news helicopter pilot. Thank you to our sponsors Technisonic, MD Helicopters and CNC Technologies
Episode 146- Dutch National Police Air Support with Harald Brink Part II
Mar 16 2024
Episode 146- Dutch National Police Air Support with Harald Brink Part II
Welcome to The Hangar Z Podcast, brought to you by Vertical Helicasts! In this two-part series, host Jon Gray sits down to talk with Harald Brink.Brink is based with the Dutch National Police, National Expertise and Operations, Air Support Unit, based at Amsterdam Airport since 2009. Brink has been a police officer since the early 1990s. Since its inception in 1953, the Dutch Police Aviation Service has relentlessly served as the nation’s eyes in the sky. The unit operates two satellite offices, one at Rotterdam-The Hague Airport and one at Volkel AFB.  Operating around the clock with a fleet of aircraft that includes nine helicopters, the Air Support Unit serves as watchful guardians, covering a vast expanse of 16,000 square miles on a mission to protect and serve. Brink started to work for the police 32 years ago, first in patrol in the city of The Hague. Later, he transferred to the National Police Force. Since 2009 he has been a tactical flight officer in the Air Support Unit. Progressing to be a technical flight officer (TFO) instructor and examiner since 2012.  The Dutch Police Aviation Service is not merely an airborne patrol; it actively upholds aviation law by ensuring compliance with regulations and guaranteeing a high standard of safety and efficacy in every mission — from search-and-rescue tactics to safeguarding national borders through aerial surveillance. Thank you to our sponsors Collins Aerospace Goodrich Hoist and Winch, Anodyne Electronics Manufacturing and MD Helicopters.
Episode 145- Dutch National Police Air Support with Harald Brink Part I
Mar 14 2024
Episode 145- Dutch National Police Air Support with Harald Brink Part I
Welcome to The Hangar Z Podcast, brought to you by Vertical Helicasts! In this two-part series, host Jon Gray sits down with Harald Brink.Brink is based with the Dutch National Police, National Expertise and Operations, Air Support Unit, based at Amsterdam Airport since 2009. Brink has been a police officer since the early 1990s. Since its inception in 1953, the Dutch Police Aviation Service has relentlessly served as the nation’s eyes in the sky. The unit operates two satellite offices, one at Rotterdam-The Hague Airport and one at Volkel AFB.  Operating around the clock with a fleet of aircraft that includes nine helicopters, the Air Support Unit serves as watchful guardians, covering a vast expanse of 16,000 square miles on a mission to protect and serve. Brink started to work for the police 32 years ago, first in patrol in the city of The Hague. Later, he transferred to the National Police Force. Since 2009 he has been a tactical flight officer in the Air Support Unit. Progressing to be a technical flight officer (TFO) instructor and examiner since 2012.  The Dutch Police Aviation Service is not merely an airborne patrol. It actively upholds aviation law by ensuring compliance with regulations and guaranteeing a high standard of safety and efficacy in every mission — from search-and-rescue tactics to safeguarding national borders through aerial surveillance. Thank you to our sponsors Robinson Helicopters, SHOTOVER and Wysong.
Episode 144- Tennessee Highway Patrol with Kevin Hart Part II
Mar 10 2024
Episode 144- Tennessee Highway Patrol with Kevin Hart Part II
Welcome to The Hangar Z Podcast, brought to you by Vertical Helicasts! In this engaging two-part series, Jeff Ratkovich and Jon Gray sit down for a conversation with a close friend, former colleague, and Gray’s certified flight instructor (CFI) at Ontario Police Department, Kevin HartHart is a seasoned professional in aviation and law enforcement. With a bachelor's degree in environmental studies from UC Santa Barbara, he brings a solid academic foundation to his multifaceted career.Hart's journey began as a fixed-wing certified flight instructor (CFI) before transitioning to law enforcement, where he served as a deputy Sheriff for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.His subsequent move to the Ontario Police Department marked over 14 years of dedicated service, during which he ascended from patrol to aviation. Hart’s roles included serving as a tactical flight officer before earning the coveted position of pilot. Notably, he also assumed the pivotal role of the aviation unit's primary certified flight instructor. Relocating to Nashville in 2021, Hart continued his contributions to aviation, working as a helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) pilot for Air Evac.  Hart and Ratkovich are now both pilots for the Tennessee Highway Patrol, with Hart based out of Nashville and Ratkovich in West Tennessee. Hart is enjoying life outside of California living in the country and working around his property tending to the chickens, fishing, and fantasizing about surf trips.Thank you to our sponsors Metro Aviation, Precision Aviation Group and Bell.
Episode 143 - Tennessee Highway Patrol with Kevin Hart Part I
Mar 8 2024
Episode 143 - Tennessee Highway Patrol with Kevin Hart Part I
Welcome to The Hangar Z Podcast, brought to you by Vertical Helicasts! In this engaging two-part series, Jeff Ratkovich and Jon Gray sit down for a conversation with a close friend, former colleague, and Gray’s certified flight instructor (CFI) at Ontario Police Department, Kevin HartHart is a seasoned professional in aviation and law enforcement. With a bachelor's degree in environmental studies from UC Santa Barbara, he brings a solid academic foundation to his multifaceted career.Hart's journey began as a fixed-wing certified flight instructor (CFI) before transitioning to law enforcement, where he served as a deputy Sheriff for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.His subsequent move to the Ontario Police Department marked over 14 years of dedicated service, during which he ascended from patrol to aviation. Hart’s roles included serving as a tactical flight officer before earning the coveted position of pilot. Notably, he also assumed the pivotal role of the aviation unit's primary certified flight instructor. Relocating to Nashville in 2021, Hart continued his contributions to aviation, working as a helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) pilot for Air Evac.  Hart and Ratkovich are now both pilots for the Tennessee Highway Patrol, with Hart based out of Nashville and Ratkovich in West Tennessee. Hart is enjoying life outside of California living in the country and working around his property tending to the chickens, fishing, and fantasizing about surf trips.Thank you to our sponsors Bell, SHOTOVER and Garmin.
Episode 142- Breaking Barriers: Desiree Horton's Path to Becoming a Fire Pilot Part II
Mar 6 2024
Episode 142- Breaking Barriers: Desiree Horton's Path to Becoming a Fire Pilot Part II
Welcome to The Hangar Z Podcast, brought to you by Vertical Helicasts. In this two-part series, we sit down to talk with Desiree Horton. With 33 years of aviation expertise and over 10,000 flight hours under her belt, Horton brings a wealth of experience to the world of public safety aviation. Currently serving as a fire/rescue pilot for Kern County Fire Department, she has dedicated her career to protecting lives and property from the skies. Horton embarked on her aviation journey in 1990 in Southern California, navigating some of the busiest airspace and operating out of the Van Nuys Airport, one of the busiest airports. Her diverse background includes flying tours, charter flights, news coverage, traffic watch, and movie production work. For almost half of her career, she honed her skills in various aviation roles before realizing her dream of becoming a fire pilot. The path to becoming a fire pilot was challenging in the early days, with limited opportunities for those without prior experience. Undeterred, Horton financed her own training for long line and mountain courses, securing a position with a company willing to give her a chance. She made history by becoming the first female pilot on an exclusive use contract for Region 5 with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). After years of serving as a contract pilot for the USFS, Horton achieved her goal of working for a fire department in Southern California. In 2013, she joined Cal Fire as a full-time female fire helicopter pilot, dedicating almost seven years to the organization. Continuing her trailblazing career, she moved on to the Orange County Fire Department in her hometown, where she became the first woman to work in air operations and as a pilot for the department. Currently, Horton is breaking new ground with the Kern County Fire Department as their first-ever female fire/rescue pilot. Driven by a desire to encourage women to explore opportunities in public safety aviation, she aspires to overcome obstacles and promote a positive culture within the industry. Thank you to our Sponsors CNC Technologies, Anodyne Electronics Manufacturing and Metro Aviation.