Southern California Rotorcraft Association

Southern California Rotorcraft Association

 

Jim Davidson – Seat 1


Jim Davidson has been flying since 1966, graduated from the United States Armys Warrant Officer Flight School December 6, 1966 (Class 66-19). Spent two tours in the Republic of Vietnam. Both with the 1st Air Cavalry Division in the central highlands (first tour 1967-68 with C Company 229th Aviation Battalion flying UH-1Ds H model hueys, then the second tour 1969-70 with Troop B, 1st Squadron 9 Cavalry, flying AH-1Gs OH-6As). Jim holds a Commercial Pilot Certificate, Rotorcraft Helicopter, and Instrument Helicopter with over 12,000 hours (all in helicopters). Moved to Southern California in 1974 and has been working for various aviation companies,include Western Helicopters, Inc., Arizona Helicopters, Inc. Aerohead Helicopters, Inc., Mercy Air, Inc. and San Joaquin Helicopters, Inc. Jim was sworn in as the first of two full-time Fire Pilots for Orange County Fire Authority Air Operations on April 1st 1998, and was most recently flying two UH-1H Super Hueys until his retirement in 2017. Jim is a long time participant in the FAA Wings Safety Program and has completed levels I through XIII in the program, and has attended a number HAI Aviation Safety courses. Jim and his family reside in Crestline, California.

Dave Andrews – Seat 2


I am a Southern California native, and grew up in the shadows of the San Gabriel Mountains. I was always fascinated by Pasadena’s PD1, an orange Enstrom F-28A, that flew overhead all the time. Watching it orbit with its searchlight was like magic to me. My parents took us boys to San Pedro, where I got to ride in the co-pilots seat on a helicopter harbor tour. When I was twelve, I tagged along with a group of more experienced and older hikers on a hike up Santa Anita Canyon. While trying to keep up with the older hikers, I became dehydrated and very sick. I was rescued by the LA County Sheriffs in a OH-6, and transported to the trailhead and then to the hospital. At that point I was hooked on aviation and helicopters. While in college, I started to work event security, and quickly moved my way up to event operations. I was able to plan and work such events as USC, UCLA, Rams, Raiders and 49ers games, arena and stadium concerts, races and motor sports, the Rose Bowl, a couple of Super Bowls and a World Series. After college, I continued to be involved planning and working large events, like the Bakersfield Business Conference, Pasadena Rose Parade, Portland Rose Festival and small-town parades. Fifteen years ago, a friend approached me to help at Heroes Airshow, it was a natural fit, helicopters and large events. I have worked my way up from an Aircraft Marshaller to Mini Boss and then Air Boss. I received my Air Boss LOA this year. I have worked at Wings, Wheels and Rotors, several off-airport landing zones as well as Heroes Airshow. I have been involved with the South Pasadena Police and Fire Department Open House, where I plan and co-ordinate flyovers, landings and departures of several helicopters during the day. This year I ran the PHPAs demonstration ramp at HAI in Anaheim. I still live in the shadows of the San Gabriel Mountains, watching PD1 and Air 5 fly overhead. I am still involved with several of the large events, and local community programs. I still hike those mountains, but with the adult supervision of my Saint Bernard.

Anthony Byrnes – Seat 3


Anthony Byrnes, who goes by Tony, is a professional pilot who grew up a “kid at the fence” at a local airport, and was lucky enough to have been mentored by some very kind and interesting people, who also happened to be pilots. He learned to fly airplanes at a young age, added helicopters in his twenties, and has been very fortunate to have had a varied and interesting career so far. Tony is currently the Chief Pilot for the Hawthorne Police Dept., Chief Pilot for Star Helicopters LLC’s On-Demand Charter operation, and an Adjunct Instructor for Glendale Community College. His experience includes a 20 year stint with U. S. Customs and Border Protection as an Air Interdiction Agent-pilot, (most of his career was with U. S. Customs Air and Marine Interdiction, which became CBP after merging with Border Patrol Air Operations in 2003). During his government career in law enforcement aviation, he was a senior pilot in rotor and fixed wing aircraft including UH-60A, AS-350B2, Bell 206/TH-57, and HU-500E helicopters, as well as Cessna 550, Beech C-12C, and Cessna T210 airplanes. Tony was also assigned as a Rotor-wing Standardization Instructor Pilot, UH-60 Instructor Pilot, Safety Officer and Aircraft Accident Investigator. Not satisfied to truly retire and go fishing most of the time, he has since his retirement been employed as a corporate helicopter manager and pilot, EMS pilot, Chief Pilot and CFI. He also graduated from Embry-Riddle with a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Aeronautics in 2009, and a Masters of Aeronautical Science and Aviation Education in 2013. A member of the PHPA for many years, he was first appointed to an open seat on the Board of Directors in 2014. Tony’s goals for the association are to grow the membership, provide professional and safety education to our members, and to help to make SoCal Rotors the premier pilots association it should be.

James Paules – Seat 4


With over 25 years of experience in real estate development, non-profit management and event development Paules brings a unique toolbox of skills in financial / accounting management, business development and volunteer / team management. Paules holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from California State University, Northridge along with graduate certificates in Real Estate Finance and Construction Management from the UCLA Graduate Builders Program. Jim is also a Certified Management Accountant, C.M.A. Paules career in real estate has included roles with many of the premier home and commercial property builders in Southern California including Griffin Industries and Forecast Homes. Additionally, Jim imagined, designed and took to market the landmark Customer Satisfaction Study for Homebuilders during his tenure with J.D. Power and Associates. A member of the PHPA since 1996 Paules first served on the Board of Directors during 2000. During this long tenure with the PHPA Paules has served as the association Treasurer, Membership director, newsletter editor and has worked on committees supporting the Helicopter Awareness Day and PHPAs involvement in a host of community events over the years. As an enthusiastic supporter of rotary-wing aviation, Paules originated the American Heroes Air Show at the Santa Monica Airport in 1993. Since then this unique event has grown into the nations premier helicopter-only, admission-free aviation experience volunteer-produced in communities from coast to coast. Paules has additionally connected with the Southern California community via his authored articles in BUILDER Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Air Space Magazine and 9-1-1 Magazine with themes from helicopters role in SAR Operations to customer satisfaction for builders to financial management tactics for non-profit organizations Upon graduation from Los Angeles first FBI Citizens Academy class in Paules organized the F.B.I. Citizens Academy Alumni Association and served as the founding President. Additionally, Paules was the founding President and continues to sit on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles A.T.F. Citizens Academy Alumni Association. Married since 1981, Jim has made West Hills in the San Fernando Valley his home with his wife Kristen, a Special Education teacher with LAUSD and their two grown children Ryan and Victoria.

JB Adkins – Seat 5


Since taking his first flying lesson at 11, JB Adkins knew he’d be involved in aviation in a meaningful way. Shortly after, at age 12, he wrote his first business plan for an airline; a Christian airline with features such as Bibles in the seat back pockets – reflective of his Southern roots. After earning his private fixed-wing certificate in high school, JB entered the world of competition aerobatics, competing under the tutelage of U.S. Advanced Aerobatic Team member Marty Flournoy. He earned a full-ride Marine Corps (NROTC) scholarship to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach where he studied Aeronautical Science and worked on advanced ratings until moving to the west coast to pursue business endeavors. Based in Southern California for the last 10 years, he has moonlit as a consultant aiding top brands and non-profits such as The Salvation Army in organizing and executing effective, revenue generating strategies leveraging the internet and traditional media channels while building Skyryde, a tech-enabled air taxi business. JB aims to bring the tools and strategies he’s honed from starting companies and working with myriad brands to SoCal Rotors in order to help establish a solid digital footprint, grow awareness about the organization, and increase membership. He lives in Acton with his wife, Yvonne, and two young sons, Junior and Sammie.

Alex Freidin – Seat 6


A Southern California native, Alex is a recent addition to the Helinet Aviation team based at the Van Nuys Airport, bringing with him a wide range of experience. Alex graduated at an early age from UCLA’s pre-hospital program and was a Paramedic in South Los Angeles for 10 years. After working in the Medical field, Alex found his calling in Aviation. In addition to flying the UH60 Blackhawk & AS350 airframes, Alex is currently Assistant Chief Pilot for Helinet’s utility division and is responsible for the oversight of all of the Utility aircraft, pilots and ground support teams as well as a liaison to the Government agencies under contract with Helinet. Alex has a wide range of aerial experience, including Firefighting, Powerline construction, VIP Charter and Tour Operations in the Los Angeles Basin. Alex lives in the Conejo Valley with his wife Heather and young daughter Vivian.

Morrie Zager – Seat 7


Morrie Zager has been flying fixed-wing aircraft since 1990 and began flying helicopters in 2007. Morrie retired in April, 2020, after a 34-year career with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He flew helicopters for the Aero Bureau since 2008 and is now flying as a part-time ENG (news) helicopter pilot in the Los Angeles area. He holds a private single engine land airplane rating as well as a commercial/instrument rotorcraft rating. Morrie is also a member of AOPA and APSA (formerly ALEA) and sat on the HAI Air Medical Services Committee until December, 2015. He has been on the frontline in the education of pilots as to the dangers of laser strikes against aircraft. He lectures on the subject and was instrumental in outfitting all the pilots assigned to the Sheriff’s Aero Bureau with laser protective eyewear. He produced an educational video on the subject and worked closely with both State and Federal prosecutors to assist with the apprehension and conviction of persons who shine lasers at pilots. Prior to his retirement, Morrie worked diligently with the FAA and homeowners groups meeting monthly for over four years addressing helicopter noise over the Los Angeles basin. He regularly met with local, state, and federal elected officials and successfully lobbied against regulatory remedies for helicopter noise in Southern California.

Steve Goldsworthy – Seat 8


Steve Goldsworthy is currently the Manager for an electrical wholesale company. Steve has been active in all phases of public safety, having been a reserve police officer, EMS Reserve Coordinator for the Pasadena Fire Department and a volunteer with the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department for the last 32 years. Steve is currently a member of the Montrose Search and Rescue Team. Steve is active in many charity organizations and is a former elected member of the Crescenta Valley Town Council where he served as Vice President and Chair of the Emergency Preparedness Committee. Steve, also known as Goldy to his friends, has served on both the PHPA membership committee and events chair. Steve is an FAA rated commercial helicopter pilot who first soloed in 1990 at Watson Helicopters. Steve has written many feature stories for Rotorcraft Pro Magazine and has flown 19 different helicopter makes/models.

Patrick Carey – Seat 9


Pat is the Director of Operations of Advance Air Charters LLC at the Hawthorne Airport. He recently retired from AirFlite Toyota Flight Operation where he worked five years as the Aviation Safety and Security Officer managing the companys Safety Management System, and flew as a Gulfstream Captain for Toyotas worldwide flight operations. Prior to that position he worked five years as a Production Test Pilot and FAA Designated Engineering Representative (DER) Flight Test Pilot for Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation flight testing Gulfstream jets including the newest Gulfstream 550 aircraft. He began flying at the Hawthorne Airport, Hawthorne, California in 1963 obtaining a Commercial Pilot certificate in 1966. He entered the US Army in 1967 and attended the Army Rotary Wing Warrant Officer Flight School. He served in Viet Nam as a helicopter gunship pilot in the First Air Cavalry Division earning the Bronze Star and 38 Air Medals. He received a direct commission to First Lieutenant, and continued his military career serving as a Flight Instructor, Artillery Unit Commander, General’s Aide, aviation maintenance test pilot, staff and command assignments including Command of Libby Army Airfield, Fort Huachuca, Arizona. He retired as a Fixed and Rotary wing Master Aviator in 1987 and resumed his civilian aviation career at the Northrop Aircraft Company as a Corporate Pilot and Test Pilot. In 1991 Pat became the Manager of Operations and Chief Pilot for the Northrop Aircraft Company, responsible for the daily flight operations activity of the companys flight department, and support of Northrop flight test programs. Following the merger of Northrop and Grumman Aircraft companies in 1994 the Northrop Grumman Flight Department became a commercial business subsidiary and charter company operating as Northrop Grumman Aviation, Inc. at the Hawthorne Airport. As the Chief Pilot he managed 24 pilots, three dispatchers, and all the company aircraft in an on demand FAR Part 135 worldwide charter operation. Pat retired from the Chief Pilot position in July 1999 to work for the Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation as a production test pilot. In addition to his full time positions, Pat had consulted as the FAR 141 Chief Flight Instructor for Security Aviation at the Hawthorne Airport, which grew under his supervision and guidance to become one of the largest flight schools in the Los Angeles area. He was also Vice President, Pilot Recruitment for the Collins Group, Carlsbad California. He currently is a co-owner of Beach Cities Aviation Academy, LLC at the Hawthorne Airport, and the FAA Designated Pilot Examiner for the airport. Pat is a Gold Seal Flight Instructor, FAA Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) and a FAAST Team Safety Counselor. He was selected as the FAA Western Pacific Region 1990 Flight Instructor of the Year. In October 2002, he received the California Pilots Association Nubar Deombeleg Award as Airport Defender of the year for successfully leading the campaign to keep the Hawthorne airport open. He serves as the Co-Chairman of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) Airspace Users Group, and was one of the original team members who in October 1986 formed the organization which, with the FAA, developed the transition routes through the Los Angeles Class B airspace. The group continues to refine airspace design in the Los Angeles area. He was the first President of the Hawthorne Airport Community Association, and is still a Senior Board Member. He has served on the Hawthorne Airport Master Planning Committee, and until recently served as a Planning Commissioner on the Hawthorne City Planning Commission. Pat is an Airline Transport Pilot rated pilot with over 29,000 hours of flying, and Type Ratings in the BE 300, 1900, Citation X, Lear Jet, and Gulfstream II, III, IV, V and G-550 jets. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Cameron University in Oklahoma, and a Master of Science degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California. He has also completed the University of Southern Californias Aviation Safety Managers program and holds an Aviation Safety Managers Certificate. Pat and his wife Kathleen have three adult children all living in Southern California.

Bill Withycombe – Seat 10


William (Bill) Withycombe is the Former Regional Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration Western-Pacific Region. His career in aviation spans five decades and establishes a solid knowledge basis as an Expert in Aviation Policy and Operations. Bill’s aviation career includes service with the United States Air Force, and Senior Management experience with the Helicopter Airline Los Angeles Airways where he served as special liaison to the FAA 1961-1971. Bill began a long career with the Federal Aviation Administration in 1971 as an Aviation Safety Inspector, Flight Standards Division Manager and assignments in two FAA regions in the Senior Executive Leadership role as the Regional Administrator of the Great Lakes and Western-Pacific Regions until his retirement in 2013. Bill holds FAA Certificates as an Airframe and Power Plant Mechanic, FAA Certified Commercial Pilot with Instrument and multi-engine ratings. He is a graduate of Northrop University and FAA General Aviation and Air Carrier Specialist Schools. He also has completed studies as an graduate of the FAA Academy and Aircraft Accident Investigators Training School. During Bill’s career with FAA, he served in senior positions as Flight Standards Division Manager in Great Lakes Region and in the Washington DC Special Field Office. In 1996 he was assigned to the Office of the Regional Administrator of the Western-Pacific Region based in Los Angeles where he served as the principle FAA representative in a four state area. As such he worked with various representatives of the aviation industry, government agencies, Unions, and civil and private aviation interests. He lead numerous regional and national programs involving aviation safety, airport operations, air traffic control, including direct FAA regional command and communications operations. This included National Leadership of the Helicopter Air Tour Management Program for the FAA and oversight of the FAAs International Aviation Program for the US Pacific Territories and Micronesia Island areas. During his career he received numerous awards and recognition including U.S. Transportation Secretaries Award for Excellence in Government and the FAA Administrators Award for Air Carrier Safety Management.

Alex Calder – Seat 11


Alex has been working in television news helicopters in Southern California since 1995, most recently for KNBC-TV. Before becoming a Board member, Alex was an advisor for the PHPA Board of Directors for 20 years, working behind the scenes for much of that time on the PHPA.org web site. Additionally, he is the founder of the popular helicopter photo web site Helispot, which he launched in 1996. Alex currently lives in his hometown of St. Louis, MO.

Ricarda Bennett, Esq. – Legal Liaison


Ricarda Bennett’s law practice focuses on heliports and airport permitting, land use planning, government relations, administrative law, public agency, business organizations, and contracts. Ricarda works with architects, hospitals, corporations, municipalities, and the property owners in the area of the heliport permitting, site evaluation, facility layout, safety analysis and environmental noise assessment. She is familiar with local regulations throughout California and the Western Region. Ricarda has served the Board of Directors of PHPA for over 19 years as legal counsel and at various times as Chair of Helicopter Awareness Day , Secretary, Treasurer, and Legislative Analyst. She provides our membership with the latest information on upcoming laws and statutes. As an active Helicopter Association International (HAI) member, she is currently Chair of the Heliport Planning Committee and a member of Acoustics and Environmental Committee and the Fly Neighborly Committee. She is past co-chair of the Public Law Section of the State Bar of California. Her office is in Westlake Village, CA and she acts as a judge pro-tem with the Ventura County Courts.