My dad made this website for me as a Birthday Surprise. If there are any inaccuracies or embarrassing exaggerations, blame him.
In 1974 I took my first
helicopter ride at the Las Vegas County Fair. It was in a Hughes 500. I
still remember the pilots name, Harry Christopher. I saved my allowance
for months to pay for that ride, I think it cost $5.
That was the day I decided I wanted to become a helicopter pilot.
When I was 9 years old, my parents bought me a Mattel VertiBird toy
helicopter for Christmas. I flew it so much that my dad gave me the
nickname "Flyin' Brian".
When I got
older, I used to hang out at the airport to wash airplanes and do
errands in exchange for free rides. I met Captain Carl Gerstenmier and he began training me in gliders. When I was 17, I soloed a Schweizer 233 glider like this one.
could see that I had a love of flying so they transferred me from
regular high-school to the Vocational Tech school in Las Vegas. I
studied A&P (Airframe and Powerplant). I really enjoyed High School
but I was the only one in my class who liked helicopters except for one
of my teachers, Clair Cohick.
My first airplane solo was in a Cessna 152 in 1986.
In September of that year, I obtained my fixed wing license.
I was 18.
My first helicopter lesson was in a Hughes 269, October 1985 . My
instructor was Marty Kay and he charged me $155.
In 1988 I made my first helicopter solo in a Robinson R22.
My cross-country solo was in a Bell Jet Ranger 206b3.
I took my CFI checkride in 1995.
At one time I was the youngest commercially licensed helicopter pilot in the state of Nevada.
My first paying job was giving helicopter rides at the Jaycee Fair,
Cashman field Las Vegas in a Hughes 300.
Because I wanted to be a better pilot, I took out a $3,000 loan to pay
for helicopter school. Guess who the instructor was? Harry Christopher,
the pilot who gave my my first helicopter ride when I was 6 years old.
Many people don't know that Harry was one of the 3 pilots that saved hundreds of people from the MGM
in Las Vegas in 1980.
Tried skydiving, (much to my Mom's dismay), made about 50 jumps then an
incident happened where I had to deploy my reserve chute. Two weeks
later I sold my stuff... My Mom was happy.
My first transport job was to ferry a Jet Ranger from California to
Florida... solo!... I felt like Charles Lindbergh.
In 1997 I
moved to Lafayette, Louisiana to work for the Omni Energy Company
(American Aviation). My job was flying crews and supplies out to the
oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.
I also flew the traffic report for 4 radio stations in Louisiana. My tagline was: "This is Captain Flyin' Brian and that's the way I see it".
One of the stations was 97.3 "The Dawg". Two crazy DJ's, Bruce Michaels
and TD Smith, were always playing jokes on me. They told me if I could
fly a kite outside the studio window and keep it in the air for 2
hours, they would give me free tickets to a concert. While I was
outside, they asked on the air for any law-enforcement personnel to
come and arrest me as a joke.
Sure enough, I was flying the kite when I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the police. "Step away from the kite and put your hands behind your back". "Wait,
there must be some mistake, I can explain".
They handcuffed me and took me inside the studio where Bruce and TD
were rolling on the floor with laughter.
Flying out to the oil rigs in all kinds of weather was good
training. On Aug 5, 1999 , I experienced a computer-induced engine
failure in a Bell 407 with 6 crew on board. I made a succesful
autorotation landing in a sugarcane field. The crew all scrambled out
and kissed the ground.
I spent 4 years in Louisiana, where I had the good fortune to meet my future wife, Stephanie.
to Alaska to fly Mining and Geological support for the Pogo Gold Mining
company. I was based out of Delta Junction and Tok. That is where I got
my long-line experience.
November, 2004 I ferried a beautiful Hughes 500-D from Redding,
California to Boise, Idaho. This worked out great because I was able to
spend some time with my parents who live in the Boise area.
I was an
EMS Pilot for CALSTAR (California Shock Trauma Air Rescue) at their
South Lake Tahoe base. I flew the Bolkow BO-105. I worked for CALSTAR
for 4 years and flew at 6 of the 7 bases.
I also instructed Pilots for the Stockton, California Sheriffs
Here I am with T-Ray and Robert.
Chief Pilot Experience:
- Airlift Helilcopters, Reno NV 2005-2006
- OMNI ENERGY SERVICES, Carencro, LA 2000 - 2001
- Rat Air Inc Chief Pilot and Vice President, Vernal Utah. 2006 to 2010.
- Sunland Aviation LLC – Director of Operations and Chief Pilot – 2010.
Ratings and Qualifications:
- commercial instrument fixed wing SEL
- Instrument proficient in Fixed Wing and Helicopter
- flight instructor helicopter
- turbine transition instructor
- Long-Line Utility Work
- OAS/USFS Certified / 2005
- Fire Suppression / Recon
Helicopters I have flown:
- MD 500 C, D, E, F,
- Bell 205
- Bell 206-B/L Series
- Bell 412
- Bell 47, 212, 222, 407, 427,
- Bolkow BO-105 CBS/LS
- Sikorsky S-76
- Augusta 109c/Power
- Hiller 12-E Soloy
- Dauphine AS-365n
- Robinson R22 & R44
- Hughes 300
- Enstrom 280 FX
- SA315B Lama
- SA330J Puma
- AS332 Super Puma
- EC225 Super Puma
Airplanes I have flown:
- Cessnas - most single engine models
- Turbo 206 and Turbo 210
- Bonanza V-35, A-36
- King-Air 200
- Stearman Biplanes
Flight Time - October 2021
- 12800 hours total
- 11100 helicopter
- 1100 Fixed Wing
Thanks (in no particular order) to:
Stephanie Grayson, Pete, Lori,
Jennifer and Chris Martin, Roger Grayson, Harry Christoper, PJ
& Pat McDonald, Jim Richards,
Ricky Spurlock, Eric Tabb, Patrick Morris, Marty Kay, Omni Energy Corp,
Clair Cohick, William and Cleve Cox - Aerial Solutions, CALSTAR, Mel
Larson, Ernie Tyska, Carl Gerstenmier, Dale Cowley, Jim Williams, Hugo
Butz, Keith Warren, Paul Likens, Steve Green, Jennifer Prevost, Tim
Tatman, Steve Foster, Jim Valentine, Tim Viehweg, Justin Seyforth, John
Adams, T-Ray, Robert Pinedo, Bob Spencer, Pete Gillies - Western
Helicopters Rialto California, Catherine Webber, Al Rice, Silverhawk
Aviation and any unnamed Friends, Family and Instructors that my dad
forgot to include.