Meet the Contributors

By Staff Writer | April 1, 2009
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CHRIS BAUR is a dual-rated ATP with more than 11,000 hours, a certified aircraft dispatcher and flight instructor. He is a retired military pilot, who served in the U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Air Force and is currently a captain at a major U.S. airline. His helicopter background includes flying the longest oceanic rescue mission in history, flown in a USAF HH-60G Pave Hawk. Chris is a former federal law enforcement officer/pilot for the U.S. Treasury Dept. He is the recipient of 1995 the FLEOA Medal of Valor for Heroism, presented by Attorney General Janet Reno.

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.

JAMES CARELESS is a long-time contributor to Rotor & Wing. He has written for other aviation magazines such as our sister publications, Aviation Maintenance and Avionics, as well as Aircraft Maintenance. James writes the lion’s share of Rotorcraft Report.


STEVE "ELROY" COLBY Lt Col, USAF (ret) began his helicopter career 28 years ago as a USAF helicopter mechanic. He flew for the USAF: UH-1N, HH-1H, MH-60G, HH-60G, AH-6, MI-8, and MI-24s. He is dual rated fixed- and rotary-wing and a CFI. He also holds an A&P. Steve was both a panelist and judge for R&W’s 2008 Search and Rescue Summit.

PAT GRAY has been involved in Gulf of Mexico helicopter operations for 20-plus years. He was in Vietnam in 1958 as a young paratrooper, flying with a French aero club and earning a Vietnamese pilot’s license. He returned in 1964 as an Army gunship pilot with the Utility Tactical Transport Helicopter Co., the first armed helicopter unit deployed in combat. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserve with more than 30 years active and reserve service. His civil helicopter experience covers crop dusting and Alaska bush, corporate, pipeline and offshore flying. He holds unlimited air transport pilot fixed- and rotary-wing ratings. He has been active in aviation for 50 years and misses the camaraderie of fellow pilots and envies all the technological advances the industry has made during the past 10-15 years.

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. Frank remains active in test and evaluation, and holds a master of science degree in aviation systems-flight testing. He joins R&W as a law enforcement columnist.

JOHN PERSINOS served as a staff reporter on daily metropolitan newspapers and has worked on several national magazines, specifically as a staff writer at Inc.; an associate editor of Venture; managing editor of Campaigns & Elections; and editor-in-chief of Rotor & Wing. He currently serves as publisher/editorial director of Aviation Today, the aviation Web site maintained by the multimedia company, Access Intelligence. Aviation Today, with more than 190,000 visits a month, is the umbrella Web site under which the Rotor & Wing sub-site resides. John attended the Bell Helicopter Training Academy in Fort Worth, Texas.

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