Hi, my name is Rick James and I have loved aviation since the day I can remember. As a young boy, while on vacation my family would take me to the beach at the end of the runway of the local air force base. This allowed me to play on the beach while watching the jets come and go! It was Epic!
When not on vacation, most Sunday afternoons during the summer were spent playing at the kids ‘Airpark’ at our local airport. You couldn’t get any better as a kid – Planes and Playing! I remember this was the first time I ever saw Concorde land and take off. I can still picture it now!
Between these regular trips, my seed of becoming a pilot was sewn, especially when I got into trouble with the school principal for making a paper airplane out of his school newsletter at the tender age of 7!
As I began to leave school the dream of becoming a pilot was soon cut short when the cost of learning to fly was realized. The airline sponsorship programs were fierce, let alone the rotary sponsorships! Even though I tried for the scholarships, my skills we no match against some of the highly educated candidates. The dream went on the back burner and my engineering apprenticeship began.
Approximately 6 years later, the turning point in my life came when I took my first ever flight in a helicopter around Manhattan during a vacation. I was 22 years old. That sealed the deal!
As soon as I landed I knew this was what I had to do and with a good paying job and lots of overtime my flight training began!
From that point on I never looked back or regretted my decision!
My aviation career began as a full time helicopter flying instructor at Hillsboro Aviation in Portland, Oregon. This was some of the best years of my life and ones that I dearly miss.
During my time as a flying instructor, I was privileged to teach over 23 students from all over the world to reach their dream of becoming a helicopter pilot.
Because I knew how hard I worked to become a pilot this pushed me to be the best instructor I could to ensure everyone met their dream too!
I think this was where the passion for sharing my aviation knowledge began.
I taught the flight and ground helicopter syllabuses for Private, Commercial, Instrument, Flight Instructor & Flight Instructor Instrument Certificates to those students.
I was also one of the company’s senior training pilots teaching full-down autorotations in the Robinson R22 – This was great fun and really kept you on your toes as an instructor.
As with everything, there comes a time when a jump up the career ladder was needed and this was when I moved to Canada to begin flying in a ‘Bush’ type role.
During my time as a pilot I have had the wonderful pleasure of flying 12 different aircraft from the most basic Bell 47 through to the incredible Sikorsky S76 and Agusta A139.
This journey has taken me from the UK to flying in the US and now I get to fly around the beauty of Canada.
Just last summer alone, I got to fly in the Canadian Rockies, dip my toe in the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic, stand one foot in Alaska, and one foot in Canada all while flying with some incredible people, doing some really interesting work.
Flying really is a wonderful thing any person can do in their life and seeing this beautiful planet from the air is something I am very privileged to do.
Getting paid to do it is just an added bonus and sharing the experiences with whoever wants to come along via this blog or my YouTube channel makes it even better!
After working out in camps, hotels, and remote locations for over a decade I now have the perfect balance of being home with my wife and two children and flying on a daily basis doing a vast array of work with some very interesting people!
This also provides me the time to be able to create the content for here and YouTube to help pass on my passion for aviation and keep the explanations as simple as possible so anyone can enjoy what I have to pass on!
Everything Aviation – Simply Explained
If you wish to learn more about my daily life as a pilot or about the helicopters I fly I highly recommend you join me on my YouTube channel, especially my ‘Day In The Life Of A Helicopter Pilot‘ series!
You can find me on the following media platforms:
See You There!