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Meet the Contributors

By Staff Writer | August 1, 2010


Lee Benson is the retired senior pilot for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Before he was named senior pilot, Lee ran the aviation section’s safety and training programs, including organizing the section’s yearly safety meeting with other public agencies and the press.

Bob Cox is a senior business reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, has covered the aviation and defense industries in North Texas since 1999 and written extensively about Bell Helicopter, Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. Previously Bob was a senior reporter for the Wichita Eagle for 11 years and covered numerous beats, including aviation. He has 31 years of daily newspaper reporting experience. Bob lives in Arlington, Texas.

Andrew Drwiega, military editor, is a senior defense journalist with a particular focus on military rotorcraft. He was the editor of Defence Helicopter for seven years. Andrew has reported on attachment from Iraq three times (the latest of which was with a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 squadron), and twice with British forces in Afghanistan (Kandahar and Camp Bastion), as well as from numerous NATO and British exercises. He has reported on rotary forces across the world, and in doing so has flown in a wide variety of rotorcraft on training missions, exercises and operations, including the Osprey, Apache, Rooivalk and many others.

Pat Gray is our “Offshore Notebook” contributor, having flown in Gulf of Mexico helicopter operations for 20-plus years. Prior to that, he was in Vietnam in 1958 as a young paratrooper. While there, he flew with a French aero club and earned a Vietnamese pilot’s license. He returned in 1964 as an Army gunship pilot with the Utility Tactical Helicopter Co., the first armed helicopter unit deployed in combat. He retired from the Army Reserve as a chief warrant officer 4, with more than 30 years active and reserve service.

Dave Jensen has more than 25 years experience as an aviation journalist. He was editor of Rotor & Wing and Avionics magazine before entering semi-retirement in his home state of South Dakota. Jensen currently is a freelance writer and consultant. Having earned BA and MA degrees, he began his journalism career as a newspaper reporter. He went on to become a newspaper editor and, briefly, was a speechwriter for a Fortune 50 corporation.

Vicki P. McConnell has been writing about materials, design, manufacturing, repair and application technology for 30-plus years. A contributor to Rotor & Wing sister publication Aviation Maintenance for 12 years, she holds equal fascination for aircraft from kit planes to Boeing’s 787 to the Space Shuttle. “I owe my career to the generosity of knowledge shared with me by aircraft owners, pilots, operators, mechanics and component manufacturers who help me understand the many elements that influence flight.”

Andrew Parker is managing editor of Rotor & Wing magazine. He has served the same role for Rotor & Wing sister publication Avionics magazine, as well as Aviation Maintenance. Andrew has covered aviation for six years, following four-plus years as a reporter for local newspapers in Northern Virginia.

Mike Redmon is an ATP rated pilot with CFI, CFII, and MEI privileges. He began flying helicopters for the U.S. Army and then moved to civilian fixed-wing flying. After six enjoyable years in helicopter EMS, he is back to flying airplanes. Helicopters he has flown are the UH-1, OH-58, AH-64, BK-117, A-109E, BH-430, and BO-105. In sharing his experiences and thoughts on the subject of EMS flying, he hopes that someone can learn from his experiences and not make some of the same mistakes.

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