Meet the Contributors

By Staff Writer | April 1, 2011

Shannon Bower is a 7,000-hour, dual ATP with type ratings in Bell 206s, Gulfstreams and Cessna Citations. He has operated on five continents and is a longtime photographer and contributing writer for Rotor & Wing. Shannon is the vice president of Bower Helicopter Inc., a firm that helps people buy, sell and refurbish helicopters.

Keith Cianfrani is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, master aviator and Army instructor pilot, rated in both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. He holds a master’s in aerospace safety from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Keith is a certificated flight instructor and has flown commercial aircraft for more than 20 years in and around the New York City area.

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 three times with British forces in Afghanistan (Kandahar and Camp Bastion), as well as from numerous NATO and British exercises.


Frank Lombardi began his flying career in 1991 when he graduated with a bachelor’s of science in aerospace engineering. Frank became a police officer for a major East Coast police department in 1995, and has flown helicopters in the department’s aviation section since 2000. He is a commercial pilot with both fixed-wing and rotary-wing ratings.

Vicki McConnell has been writing about materials, design, manufacturing, repair and application technology for 30-plus years. A contributor to aviation magazines for 12 years, she holds equal fascination for aircraft from kit planes to Boeing’s 787 to the Space Shuttle. She attributes her career to aircraft owners, pilots, operators and mechanics “who help me understand the many elements that influence flight.”

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.

Mark Robins is an experienced and accomplished editor who has bylined more than 50 full-length feature articles in his career, most dealing with technical and manufacturing developments. He has written for such technical trade magazines as Quality and Electronic Packaging and Production. Additionally, he has worked full-time for the editorial departments of the American Society of Civil Engineers and Society of Manufacturing Engineers. He resides in Glenview, Ill.

Dale Smith has been an aviation journalist for 24 years specializing in business aviation. He is currently a contributing writer for Rotor & Wing and other leading aviation magazines. He has been a licensed pilot since 1974 and has flown 35 different types of general aviation, business and WWII vintage aircraft. In his spare time he moonlights as a award-winning aviation artist.

Ernie Stephens, Editor-at-Large, began flying in the 1980s, earning his commercial pilot’s license and starting an aerial photography company as a sideline. In his regular job as a county police officer, he was transferred to the department’s newly established aviation unit, where he served as the sergeant in charge and chief pilot until his retirement in 2006.

Todd Vorenkamp currently flies Eurocopter HH-65C helicopters for the U.S. Coast Guard at Air Station Humboldt Bay, Calif. He served 11 years in the U.S. Navy flying the Boeing CH-46, Sikorsky SH-3 and MH-60S helicopters. He is the former editor-in-chief of Rotor Review, the Naval Helicopter Association’s quarterly publication, and is a trustee of the association.

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