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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Meet the Contributors

The majority of LEE BENSON’S SAR search and rescue operations occurred during his 26 -year career with the Los Angeles County Fire Dept. Additionally, in 1981 he flew for the Life Flight program in Indianapolis. But Lee observes that all helicopter pilots, regardless of their main mission, have done and continue to do lifesaving work as it is encountered in their day-to-day operations.

STEVE "ELROY" COLBY started his aviation career as a helicopter mechanic for the U.S. Air Force 27 years ago. He went on to hold positions as a combat rescue weapons officer and instructor pilot, operational test pilot, and ultimately as commander of the USAF 34th Weapons Sqdn., the school for combat search-and-rescue pilots. He now works as a Defense Dept. consultant, providing flight-test planning, execution, reporting, and engineering recommendation services. His involvement with various aerospace industries as a mechanic, tester, and consultant give him unique insight into key technological and programmatic advances in the rotorcraft industry.

FRANK COLUCCI has written in depth about military and commercial rotorcraft for more than 25 years. He is a contributing editor for the American Helicopter Society International’s Vertiflite magazine and routinely writes about rotary-wing technology and operations. In addition, he has authored an early book on the Boeing AH-64 Apache, "The McDonnell Douglas Apache." Frank’s past articles for Rotor & Wing have covered the evolving Apache.

WIM DAS (left) and KEES OTTEN (right) typically spend a half-day doing interviews and taking photos for their stories. So it was a pleasant surprise when the Dutch navy invited them for a three-day stay on the HMS Rotterdam helicopter carrier steaming at sea and gave them almost carte blanche on interviews, facilities, and base visits at the naval air station Den Helder. This month, we offer the second of their two-part story on helicopter operations of the Dutch navy.

BARNEY O’SHEA spent the last two months visiting old military friends and making new ones in the United Kingdom and Germany. He attended the U.K. Army Air Corps’ Golden Jubilee in early September and was briefed on that organization’s operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also visited with top officers of the Heeresflieger, the German Army air force, focusing on its flight training.

ERNIE STEPHENS has been writing for R&W since 2003, and contributes to our sister publication, Aviation Maintenance. He holds a B.S. in Management of Technical Operations and a master’s degree in Aeronautical Science, both from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He recently retired as the officer-in-charge and chief pilot for a Washington, D.C. area county police agency. His hobbies include practicing instrument procedures on a computer-based flight trainer.

RICHARD WHITTLE, a regular contributor to R&W, reports this month on the recent gatherings of the Air Force Assn. and the Assn. of the U.S. Army, both held in Washington. He is writing a book on the V-22 Osprey for Simon & Schuster.

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