Well known as an outspoken proponent of safe, innovative search-and-rescue and firefighting techniques, LEE BENSON recently retired as senior pilot of the Los Angeles County Fire Dept. In addition to spending his retirement writing for Rotor & Wing, he plans to continue that advocacy by consulting with U.S. and international helicopter operators on their activities and fleet and equipment requirements.

GIOVANNI DE BRIGANTI started writing for R&W in February 1986. It was the HAI Show issue, and Jetcopters, Inc.’s modified Bell Helicopter 222, known to TV viewers as Airwolf, was on the cover. His first column was on the polar-opposite public perceptions of civil and military helicopters in Europe.

DAVE JENSEN, editor-in-chief of R&W from 1987 to 1994, has been an aviation journalist for 27 years. Before retiring to South Dakota, he was editor-in-chief of Avionics Magazine. He was a Bell Helicopter demonstration pilot and personal helicopter pilot for Rep. Lyndon B. Johnson. This month, he takes a look back at the helicopter industry since the inception of R&W.


JULIE STONE worked for R&W from 1983 to 1992, first as advertising director, then as associate publisher. She has more than 20 years experience in marketing, management, communications, advertising, public relations and event management, and has been working as a marketing and public-relations consultant, specializing primarily in the business aviation industry, since 1997. Prior to starting her consulting business, Stone was the manager of marketing communications at Gulfstream Aerospace for several years.

As he says in the introduction to this month’s "Safety Watch" column, BRIAN SWINNEY is a 3,800-hr-plus emergency medical services pilot. In addition to flying for Ballard Aviation’s EagleMed, he is a safety coordinator at that operation’s Tahlequah, Okla. base. He writes in the hope of helping other pilots to avoid accidents like the one he suffered — and their hidden costs — and EMS operators to improve their approaches to safety.

TODD VORENKAMP is due to be commissioned this month as a lieutenant junior grade in the U.S. Coast Guard, having been accepted into that service’s Direct Commission Aviator Program. He served 11 years in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a lieutenant commander. In that time, he flew more than 1,700 hr in the Boeing CH-46s and Sikorsky Aircraft UH-3s and MH-60Ss. His last tour of duty was as officer-in-charge of NAS Whidbey Island, Wash. Search and Rescue. He is the former editor-in-chief of Rotor Review, the Naval Helicopter Assn.’s quarterly publication. His writing was also featured in the anthology Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families, published by Random House and the National Endowment for the Arts.

RICHARD WHITTLE covered the Pentagon full time for the Washington bureau of The Dallas Morning News for 22 years, until 2006. He previously covered defense and foreign policy for Congressional Quarterly magazine and was an editor at National Public Radio.

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