Lee Benson is a 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.
Peter Donaldson has more than 25 years of experience as a journalist and writer covering aerospace and defence technology and operations. Subjects he has written about include: engines and power transmission systems for helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, unmanned vehicles of all kinds, ships, submarines and ground vehicles. He has also covered electronics and mission management systems for these vehicles, military command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance, targeting and reconnaissance systems in addition to guided weapons, guns and ammunition. Peter has also been involved in shaping conferences covering such topics as civil and military helicopters, electronic warfare systems, night vision systems, search and rescue.
Andrew Drwiega, International Bureau Chief, is a senior defense/aviation journalist with a specialization in international military rotorcraft. Based in London, he has reported from Iraq and Afghanistan on numerous occasions on attachment with American and British helicopter forces. Andrew is a member of the Army Aviation Association of America, the Royal United Services Institute, the Air Power Association and is an associate member of the Royal Aeronautical Society. He has a BA (Hons) degree in War Studies. Andrew covers defense and global rotorcraft markets.
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. He retired from the Army Reserve as a chief warrant officer 4, with more than 30 years active and reserve service. Gray’s civil helicopter experience covers crop dusting and Alaska bush, corporate, pipeline and offshore flying.
Frank Lombardi, an ATP with both fixed-wing and rotary-wing ratings, began his flying career in 1991 after graduating with a bachelor’s of science in aerospace engineering, working on various airplane and helicopter programs as a flight test engineer for Grumman Aerospace Corp. Frank became a police officer for a major East Coast police department in 1995, and has been flying helicopters in the department’s aviation section since 2000. He remains active in test and evaluation, and holds a master’s degree in aviation systems-flight testing from the University of Tennessee Space Institute.
Douglas Nelms has more than 30 years of experience as an aviation journalist and currently works as a freelance writer. He has served as managing editor of Rotor & Wing. A former U.S. Army helicopter pilot, Nelms specializes in writing about helicopters.
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.
Ernie Stephens, Editor-at-Large, spent 27 years with a major county police department, retiring as a decorated sergeant and chief pilot of its aviation section in 2006. He began his flying career in the late 1980s when he earned his rotorcraft license and incorporated a small aviation company as a sideline to his law enforcement career. Ernie holds a B.S. in Management of Technical Operations and an M.S. in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where he is also a professor and former director of academics for one of the school’s satellite campuses. He has been writing features and columns for Rotor & Wing since 2003, and has performed evaluation flights in some of the latest, most technologically advanced rotorcraft in the world.