R44 Pilot Finds Missing Family

Another example of how private helicopter pilots can help their communities.

A friend of mine e-mailed me this story from the San Francisco Chronicle last night: “PILOT HAD HUNCH: It led him to wife, kids.”

The short version: James Kim and his wife and two children went missing in the mountains. John Rachor, a private helicopter pilot and owner of an R44 helicopter (like mine), decided to follow up on a hunch he had about where they may have made a wrong turn. He found the wife and kids alive and safe. Sadly the husband was later found dead, having died while trying to walk for help.

Wickenburg is lucky to have not one but three privately owned helicopters. The three pilots — Ray, Dave, and I — know the immediate area better than 95% of Wickenburg’s population. We know about canyons and trails and hidden ruins that most people couldn’t imagine. Certainly better than the APS or Sheriff’s office helicopter pilots — after all, we fly around here all the time.

Although I hope we’re never needed to help out with a search, I also hope that the local authorities wouldn’t hesitate to ask us to help out if they needed a few more eyes in the sky. After all, since we can each take four pairs, that’s twelve more people that can help save a life.

What do you think?